The Intangible Legacy

 By Marilyn Okoye

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, legacy is defined as money or property bequeathed to another by will.  When leaving a legacy, the first thing that comes to most people's mind are financial worth, land and property, and historical or notable accomplishments.  In today's instant society we have become a "get it now" generation.  If there is a legacy bequeathed, no one appreciates its true value.  The hard work and dedication it takes to build a legacy is often overlooked.  When we contemplate our legacy, what is it that we really want to leave behind?  Yes, we want our loved ones to be blessed with property, historical accomplishments, and the financial resources to sustain them. But, we want to also leave a legacy that will be carried on throughout generations, an invaluable embodiment of our true essence. This legacy is not tangible. 

A legacy of character, truth, wisdom, patience, trust, love and faith only name a few of these intangible gifts that we can bequeath to our loved ones.  It's never too late to begin to cultivate these qualities so that our children can receive an inheritance that can not be measured.  A legacy that has now become a living legacy.  There are many ways to create this legacy.  We can start by getting back to the basics.  A time when families came together for a time of sharing on days other than major holidays.  Traditions were established, dreams were revealed and life lessons were taught/learned.  Regular family meetings are a great way to incorporate such a legacy.  Come together weekly, monthly or quarterly to discuss what is important to the family and for the family.  Share your vision with your family, how you plan to accomplish the vision, as well as how family members can assist with the vision.  A very important question that I share with my children is, “What do you plan to do to contribute to the success of this family?”  In order for us to accomplish some of the things that we discuss in our family meetings, my family need the attributes that are mentioned in this article.   Talk often about your family lineage and the traditions and lessons that have sustained you. These kind of discussion give an opportunity to share with your children what it takes to build character, to operate in truth and wisdom, to be patient, to be trustworthy, to flow in love and to walk by faith. 

The character of a person is exemplified when he/she treat those who can do nothing for him/her as if they had always been there.  His or her selflessness is felt by many. Truth and wisdom are partners.  A wise person is a person of truth and integrity.  Never willing to compromise right for wrong or good for evil. Patience is a gift we all need in all degrees.  Never wanting to skip any of life lessons, regardless of the obstacles that may come up.   Parents who endure the growing pains of their child until he/she blossom into adulthood will endure many worthwhile lessons in patience. To trust is to be trusted.  It is difficult for one to trust if he/she can not be trusted. It is the person who has self doubt in his/her own ability to be trusted, that mounts the limitation in ability to trust.

[A legacy of] love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ready to believe the best of every person, it hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. [A legacy of] love never fails, [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end.] (I Cor. 13:7-8a AMP.)  This kind of love keeps families unified.  It will keep the younger generations connected with and respectful of its elders, regardless of individual status and accomplishments. Faith is the foundation of these intangible legacies.  It is our faith that allow us to believe that which we have shared with our children will remain a part of them forever.  Our faith allows us to know that what we have bequeathed to our children is of immeasurable worth.  Our faith gives us the hope in our children that they will operate in the knowledge of these gifts and understand the true worth of who they are. 

Journaling is another excellent way to share these legacies with your children.  Recording moments in your lives, good or bad, great or small, and the lessons that can be gleaned from them provides historical facts that can be passed down from generation to generation.  Life lessons of legacies that can be shared with your children, their children, and their children’s children.   We must realize that we all have a Legacy.  And, when we do make our transition, it is wonderful to know that we have imparted a legacy of life lessons that establishes family values and beliefs that will transcend generations.

Books Worth Reading by Marilyn.

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