Legacy & the Test of Time: How do you want to be remembered?

Every once in a while, most dads need to challenge their perspective on life and re-evaluate where they are and where they’re going. That might sound overly abstract, but it can start with a simple and very real-life question:

Do you know the name of your great-grandfather? Or your great-grandmother?

A few of us might, but surely many of us don’t know our great-grandparents’ names, not to mention what they did with their lives, what they stood for and what they believed in. And that may not seem like a big problem to you today. But think of it this way:

Will your great-grandchildren know your name?

If the trend holds true, probably not. So we may be three or four generations from being forgotten!

Don’t most of us want to leave a better, more lasting legacy than that? And this isn’t about making sure our descendants remember how great we were or how much we accomplished. This isn’t about setting sports records that will never be broken, running for senator, building a world-famous business, or some other outward measure of “success.”

For many of us, it’s probably more about being people of character, passing on values and faith, committing ourselves to things that make a difference in the world, and having strong, close-knit family relationships. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

How do you want to be remembered?

No matter how old your children are, you can’t start asking that question too soon or revisiting it too often. The cliché is true: our children will be grown-up before we know it. It might stagger us to think about, but those kids running around our homes will soon be adults and likely have children of their own. And we play a big role in preparing them for that future, while also equipping them for that day when they’re preparing their own children for their future.

Yes, they are deep and sometimes scary thoughts, and it’s easy to get lost in all the reflection. But the simple challenge is to be intentional about it, to look at each day and ask:

What can I do today to invest in my children and build a strong and lasting legacy?”

Are there activities I’ve wanted to do with my kids? Or talks I’ve been meaning to have, but I just haven’t gotten around to it?

It’s time to make those things a priority—very soon—because that’s how we create those memories and build that legacy. That’s how we can stand the test of time as dads—by being the loving, connected fathers our children need us to be, one day at a time.

Dad, how DO you want to be remembered? Share your thoughts and compare notes with other dads on our Facebook page.

Action Points & Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  • Take a few minutes and think about your ancestors. How far back can you go? What do you know about them?
  • What would you want your great-grandchild to know about you and your life? Jot down some ideas. Talk through the specifics with your kids’ mom or another dad.
  • Now, think about some actions you can take or habits you can start today that will move things in the right direction.
  • What’s your biggest fear when you think about your children becoming adults? Have you talked to them about that?
  • Schedule one-on-one outings with each of your kids in the near future—whether you just have fun together or talk about something important.

Watch the replay of the Fathering Breakthrough Event

Join Dr. Ken Canfield and a handful of friends and partners as we give an update about our efforts to inspire and equip fathers all over the world.

There may be no more important work than turning the hearts of fathers to their children, and that’s what this is all about. We’re seeking to repair, rebuild and restore effective fathering for the benefit of children and families everywhere.