Jack Kemp was a quarterback for the NFL, a congressman, and one-time vice-presidential nominee. Despite his many accomplishments, shortly before he passed away in 2009, he told his son, Jeff, "I want my legacy to be family, and how much God has shown love for us."
When your life is over … when you take your last breath … what will your loved ones say about the way you lived? Will you pass on true riches—a legacy of one who followed Jesus Christ?
Here are 14 ideas for leaving a spiritual legacy to your grandchild:
1. Every month, ask your grandchild how you can pray for him. Jot down one another's prayer requests in a notebook and record the dates and ways that God answers your prayers. Share some of your prayer requests with your grandchild. If you do not live near one another, do this by email, text, or phone.
2. Read and discuss Deuteronomy 32:7: "Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you." Ask your grandchild: Why should we consider past generations? What value is there in remembering the past? Then memorize this verse together (over several days).
3. Read 1 Corinthians 13:5-9 with your grandchild. Look up the stories of biblical characters who exemplified the traits mentioned in these verses.
4. Encourage your grandchild to write a poem about a biblical character who modeled love. Young children could draw a picture. Put these on display on your refrigerator. Or type the poem on your computer with a calligraphy font. Print it, place it in a nice frame, and display it in your home.
5. Take out a Bible and read Ecclesiastes 3:1 with your grandchild, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." Discuss the importance of waiting on God's time, and then present your grandchild with an inexpensive watch.
6. Purchase a Bible for your grandchild and have his name engraved on it. Write a special note inside the cover of the Bible.
7. Go to an estate sale and let your grandchild pick out a special item to remember your day together. In the car discuss Isaiah 40:7 (NLT), "The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever." Compare this verse to the estate sale—when we leave this earth, we leave all of our possessions behind.
8. Write about the day your grandchild was born or adopted. Describe the weather, time, where you were, and your feelings when you saw him for the first time. Include special Bible verses or prayers that you claim for your grandchild.
9. Share your beliefs concerning your faith, explaining why you believe what you do. Then ask your grandchild what he believes and why.
10. Put a blanket on the ground. Lie down on it with your grandchild and look up at the clouds. Tell each other what the clouds look like. For example, are they shaped like a mountain, boat, cotton candy, etc.?
Share Psalm 147:8 with your grandchild: "He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills."
11. Design some special cards with your grandchild that have the following verse: 1 Peter 5:7, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." With your grandchild, send one of these cards to someone who needs encouragement.
12. Ask your grandchild to tell you about her friends. Ask how your grandchild and her friends express Christ's love to one another. Invite your grandchild to bring one of her friends to your home one day for a special meal.
13. Have a hymn night at your home with your grandchild. Together choose traditional hymns and contemporary songs. Ask one another, "What is your favorite song and why?"
14. Look up Proverbs 21:31 with your grandchild: "The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord." Discuss this with him if he's old enough to understand its meaning. How could a horse be ready for battle (i.e., man's effort to defend himself through equipment, etc.) and yet the end result of the battle really rest with the Lord? Then talk with your grandchild about battles in your life/in your grandchild's life. Where is his ultimate strength? Read Deuteronomy 3:22 with your grandchild and discuss it together, "Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you."
My mother passed away recently. As our family reminisced about her life, we described her with words like faith, strength, kindness, generosity, prayer, and unconditional love. We talked about her strong belief that the past is gone and tomorrow will be bright.
Like Jack Kemp, she left far more than material possessions to her children and grandchildren. She left a spiritual legacy that I pray will continue for many generations.
Copyright © 2015 Mary May Larmoyeux. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Portions of this article were excerpted with permission from the book Mary wrote with Nancy Downing, The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild's Heart.
1. If you are a grandparent, choose one or two of the ideas given in this article and put them into practice this week.
2.Read "70 Things We Love About Grandpa." If your grandparents are living, make a list of things that you love about them. Then share your list with your grandparents.
3. Listen as authors Nancy Downing and Mary May Larmoyeux talk with FamilyLife Today® listeners about creative ways to connect with grandchildren. And read the book The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild's Heart.