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Leaving a Legacy (3 of 4)

Mike Connell

Page 5 of 8
Trying to build family life is incredibly difficult. Bringing God into the centre of it makes a huge difference to the outcome.

One of the things that I learnt from my father-in-law was: the value of family experiences - of building experiences into your family that leave memories, and thereby leave a legacy.

When you think about your parents that went before you, most people don't think of the house or the money that was left to them. They think of the experiences, how they experienced that person.

When you have left this world people will remember how they experienced you. Were you known for kindness, faith, serving God faithfully; for integrity?

So we can build some experiences into family life. Here are a few things that you can do

1) One of the greatest legacies you can leave your children is to unconditionally love and value every one of them.

They're all different - they've all got different personalities, different challenges; but if you can find ways of expressing that you love them unconditionally, and they're of great value - that is a huge legacy to leave behind.

A small house, with love in it, is much better than a big house, if everyone's in conflict and tension. So building or sharing a heart that just accepts each of the children, and sees their uniqueness and their value.

2) Words spoken. Bless them - speak words over every child.

I remember an encounter with the Lord one time, and He spoke to me about a particular man in the church, who was dying. He said: tell him how much I love him; and speak to him to bless each of his children, and speak words into their life.

It's never too late to speak words of value over each of your children, your spouse - to use your gift of language to say what people mean, and how you see them. It's an incredible thing, especially if you’re a father - it has power to change lives and to leave a huge legacy, if you can speak: I believe in you, I'm with you, I'm for you.

3) Another way you can build a family legacy is to connect emotionally.

I work with many Asians, and one of the biggest challenges is for the fathers to connect emotionally. To connect emotionally, you've got to share your feelings and your heart with your family; you share what you feel - to be able to connect when they're going through times that are difficult; to be able to put your arm around them and speak into their life and heart.

That sort of thing builds family experience. Why not plan some family experiences together?

So here are some very simple things again: why not turn the TV off and the phone off and have a meal together - every day? In that meal together, talk and connect and interact, and build family experience together.

Many people just don't understand the value of that - they've let it all go. But what happens is, they've left no legacy of family meal, eating together, laughing together and having fun - everyone trying to talk together.

Family holidays together. It doesn't have to be complex. At one stage we had no car, but it didn't stop us going on a family holiday. Joy's family had a place on the beach. We caught a train, and got help to get there and help back. We found a way to do it, and those family experiences were all without anyone else there, so we could just connect as a family. When you do that, you leave memories, you leave a legacy.

Think about celebrating events. We have a tradition of celebrating birthdays, and Christmas - and make it a big fuss, make it something that people remember, because it communicates value. The value's not in the birthday cake, or in singing Happy Birthday, but in placing value on that person - letting them know you are special, we love you, we value you, and you're a great part of our family.