Inheritance has meant very little in my family—at least where it concerns money.
My maternal grandparents were the only ones in my family who had money. Even what they had wouldn’t be considered much by today’s standards, but in the eyes of a 15-year-old, it was. When my grandfather died, we discovered he had more than 100K in savings and more than 20K in his checking account. I doubt my grandmother ever knew. She wasn’t allowed to touch the money, pay the bills, or make financial decisions.
Though stingy in life, my grandfather was a little more generous in death. In his will, he delegated $1,000 for each of his grandchildren. That doesn’t sound like much now, but to a teenager it was a gold mine. I forget what I did with it, but I do remember my spendthrift parents made sure I used it wisely.
Other than a few good memories of helping around the farm, money was all my maternal grandfather left me. I never remember him showing affection or telling me he loved me. No encouragement or wisdom for the future either.
My paternal grandparents, on the other hand, left me much more—though it did not come in the form of a monetary inheritance. From them, I received bunches of hugs, hundreds of I-love-you’s, hours spent doing various things together, financial help when I was struggling, and many words of wisdom for the future. What they left was far more than a thousand dollars.
At the moment—and as far as I know no change is in the cards, I won’t leave my grandchildren money either. Like with my paternal grandparents, I will leave them a meager financial lifestyle.
But that’s okay. Their example taught me money can’t buy everything—and that there are more important things than money. Such as spending time together around the table eating a meal, sitting in my recliner reading Bible stories, perching at a table doing handiwork that teaches how God created the world, and taking them to church.
I’m not “spending my grandchildren’s inheritance”; I’m leaving my spiritual heritage intact for them. Hopefully, they’ll pass it on to theirs.
What are you leaving your posterity?
Prayer: Father, may we leave behind for posterity what can never be spent.
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