Since our kids are grown and mostly on their own, we’ve been able to do more traveling and spend money on things on which we never indulged: Drive-thru senior coffee, for one thing. Dave knows just where to go and how I like it fixed. We travel more and spend time on the road or in the air visiting our kids. We call it the open road – and spending their inheritance.
There are two things we want to leave our kids when we’re gone. Those two things have nothing to do with money, so we don’t mind spending their inheritance now.
Our will has things fixed in such a way that they will probably end up getting something here or there, yet that legal document can’t give them our greatest heart’s desire.
Long after we’re gone and the inheritance is spent, there are two things that matter most of all. Those two things are a gift that will last a lifetime and beyond.
A personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Nobody, but nobody can make that choice for anybody else. We can take our kids to church and teach them about God and the Bible. We can explain the Gospel and salvation to them, yet becoming a child of God has nothing to do with osmosis or genetics. It’s about the heart, for God has no grandchildren. There’s no greater joy than watching your child going after God and developing his own relationship that will last for eternity. Our hearts echo the sentiment from the book of 3rd John: “I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in Truth.” Nothing, but nothing matters more than this. It matters because it’s not just about the now, but about how we live and what happens when the heart takes one last quiver and stops beating here on earth.
A personal work ethic. What we believe affects the way we live. It also affects the way we work (or don’t work). When a person has a work ethic that demands integrity, it will be evidenced not only in the big things, but also in those small, seemingly insignificant and private decisions in life. A moral work ethic doesn’t happen through osmosis or genetics either. Certainly, a great example helps produce a desire for a work ethic. Learning to work as a child helps provide incentive to develop a good work ethic, so don’t deprive your kids of that opportunity! Whether our country is in feast or in famine, whether there’s a recession or a depression, a personal work ethic will provide stability and a way to make it through dark financial times.
The Bottom Line
In our goals as parents, we sometimes lose sight of the bigger picture. In our desperation for our kids to have it “better than we did”, we end up succumbing to ideas and principles that don’t support our purpose as parents.
Perhaps it’s time we start asking, “Will this encourage my child to develop a moral work ethic and a relationship with Jesus Christ, or will it pull him away from my heart’s desire?”
Income tax time shows us our total income as well as our expenditures. Our net income shows what we have left – what we’ll be taxed on by our government. As parents, our net worth is decided based on what’s left after all our expenditures. The less we spend (in time and money) on things that detract from the outcome we want, the greater the dividend at the end.
As parents, we should choose to invest the most in things that teach our core values and will last long-term and for eternity. We realize that these choices are not something we can make for our offspring, yet the choices we make today will help point them in the right direction tomorrow. It’s an inheritance that only they will get to spend.