What Will Be Your Legacy?

A legacy is something that is handed down from one generation to another. It can include money or property left to someone in a will, but it can also be a way of life, philosophy, belief system, or anything that makes an impact on someone’s life.

My grandmother didn’t leave me any material possessions, except for a story Bible that belonged to my grandfather. I never knew the man. He died when my mother, the youngest of four children, was in high school. But that Bible, in some small way, makes me feel connected to him. I’ve had it for almost forty years, and it’s still kept in the stand next to my bed.

In place of “things,” my grandmother left me with wonderful memories and a small understanding of the woman she was and who she hoped her grandchildren would become.

She was raised on a Wisconsin farm, taught school in a one-room schoolhouse, and met my grandfather at a church social. Life as a farmer's wife included cooking at least three large meals a day for the family and all the farmhands. Not just one – but many pies were baked daily. When my grandfather died, she kept the farm going until one of the sons took over, and then she moved out of the big house into a much smaller one built for her on the land.

My grandmother was an example of an independent woman.

I have fond memories of spending time there as a child. The TV was rarely on, but there were always books to read, puzzles to work, homemade coffee cake, and walks in the woods to pick wild flowers. She carried Luden’s cherry cough drops in her purse in case of a tickle in the throat during church. During sleepovers, I listened to the gentle tick, tick of the clock and the chimes that rang every hour and half hour. Now we have a similar clock, and in the dead of night, the chimes are comforting.

She knew what hospitality meant and how to make a house a home.

I am in the middle of thirteen grandchildren – two were born the same year I showed up. An honor student, I was also involved in numerous extracurricular activities. I’m sure she was proud of me, but she never talked about my accomplishments, nor those of my cousins. I never heard her compare us to each other. I liked that about her. It made me feel that we were all on equal ground.

She just loved us just because . . . not because of what we “did.”

As a college student, I occasionally spent several days with her during school breaks. We set up a large wood frame that took up the entire living room, and she helped me tie the large quilts I had begun to sew as a hobby.

She showed me that it was important to share your time and talents with people.

My grandmother loved God. She knew the Bible. And she thought one of the highest callings a person could have was to be a missionary.

She impressed upon me the importance of having faith and putting God first in my life.

I want to leave a similar legacy for my children. I want them to know that above all else they are unconditionally loved for who they are. That they are strong people who can accomplish great things – as well as survive difficult times. That people are more important than things. And that above all else, their relationship with Jesus Christ should always be the most important thing in their lives.

That’s the kind of legacy I want to leave for my children.

What will be your legacy?



  1. This is a subject dear to my heart. I have always been concerned with leaving a good legacy for my children and grandchildren. That is a big reason why I bacame serious about publication. I didn't know my own grandparents well, but I did acquire a few trinkets that I treasure. But what I really wish that I had was their memories, their thoughts, their dreams. That's a true legacy in my view.
    Great post.

  2. Thanks, Jan!

    I don't have any grandchildren, yet. But, it's also very important to me to give future grandkids wonderful experiences and great memories. :-D


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