A legacy can be specific as a gift of property, especially personal property, as money, given in a  will, like a bequest. More importantly to be is “anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.”

What will I leave my children and grandchildren after I go, or even close friends? I am more concerned about what I leave in their heads and hearts, rather than in their hands.

It’s a crazy world out there, and really we don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next. So much has changed in the last generation that I am sometimes worried about the future for our children. Families seem less bonded than they used to be. Religion is often an afterthought. Freedom of speech is often used as a weapon rather than a instrument of peace. Kindness is often calculated. Some parental behavior I see is not good role modeling. Education is more and more becoming the vehicle for instilling values in children — these should come from the family.  With a strong foundation, children will be better adults, which is why, after all, we had them, isn’t it? What I’d like to see for future generations, particularly in my own family is:

Parenting that puts a child’s best interests (not wants and desires) first. A family life in which each member is important, but all share love and attention and a sense of togetherness that will follow them through life.

Instilling values that they see demonstrated by the adults around them and that they are encouraged to live out in their own lives. (This may need frequent reminders!)

Empathy for others who need care and concern, as opposed to discrimination or bullying.

Patriotism and learning that we have a special country based on equal opportunity, freedom to follow one’s dreams, and a special document, the Constitution, which ensures these rights for us. A respect for the law, and willingness to fight for what is just.

Taking responsibility for one’s actions, accepting correction or consequences when necessary, and trying to do better the next time. Learning from one’s mistakes with the safety net of caring but not interfering parents.

As a parent, the most gratifying thing for me is to see my grown children behaving as responsible, accomplished adults who care for others out of a sense of love and responsibility. I’m blessed by children who are like that and trying to pass the legacy of a strong, caring family along to their children and kindness and concern for their friends.

Hey; they’re not perfect, but I’m glad to call them and theirs mine!