A Spiritual Heritage: Connecting Kids and Grandkids to God and Family by Glen & Ellen Schuknecht
As a mom and grandma, one of my primary goals in life is to make sure that my kids and grandkids are not simply following Jesus, but really following Jesus. That they have a faith that sticks in times good and not so good. This seems to be more of a challenge with each passing year. Not only does the culture create increasing obstacles, but even defining what following Jesus means in today’s environment seems to be a moving target. Even more challenging is how we as older adults speak well into the lives of our adult kids and grandkids.
Glen and Ellen Schuknecht offer a plethora of good information in their new book, A Spiritual Heritage: Connecting Kids and Grandkids to God and Family. They are involved in discipleship and family ministries at Veritas Academy in Manchaca, Texas and have made a deliberate commitment to daily build a spiritual legacy in their family. This is done more by dozens of small actions and rituals rather than by one grand thing.
Glen says, “These little things are what allow your precious kids and grandkids to fall asleep safe in God’s arms and wake up knowing they are part of something big and special.” He encourages us “through careful prayer and intentional conversation,” to “build a legacy of faith that will sustain your kids, your grandkids, and all your future generations throughout their lives.” That’s a goal I can subscribe to.
But the Schuknecht’s don’t just spout platitudes and sanctimonious words. They offer practical tips and examples in every chapter. And while their family seems to be one of those Norman Rockwell paintings, they offer examples of other less idyllic families they’ve worked with using their conversational coaching RITE formula: Relate, Inspire, Teach, Equip. Finally, each chapter includes one or more “Quick Tips” sections that summarize their points.
While much of this book is common sense and while some who have been Christians a long time might say, “I knew that…,” I found enough good ideas to consider this book a good investment. For those who are new to the faith or who grew up without strong family bonds, it’s a must-have.
Thanks to Kregel Publications for inviting me to review this book.
So what does the concept of legacy have to do with us? I’ve wondered if we as Christians are called to heal the generations for the purpose of redeeming, perhaps even continuing, the human race.
Family as Legacy
Photo Credit: Pat Sikora
When I look at the downward spiral in our society, the law of entropy is alive and well. Things just keep getting worse. If someone—or a lot of someones—don’t intervene, it seems likely that we will devolve into chaos in a matter of just a few generations. Surely this isn’t the first time that has happened. Somehow, God has always intervened to reverse the spiral. Perhaps He has some in each generation called to redemption and generational healing.
Here’s the deal: we all leave a legacy, whether deliberately or unconsciously. I prefer to do it deliberately. I believe I can stand in the gap for my family. I can influence them and their generations for Christ. This has value both now and in the future. And one of the ways I’ve done that, one of the few ways I’ve gained a hearing from my family, is by being there and serving and modeling that loving service for my son and eventually my grandchildren. We’re nowhere near done yet, but I’m determined to leave a legacy. To do whatever I can do to restore godliness in my family line. And the visible playing field I’ve been given is caregiving. I’m determined to share a Legacy of Love with them. How are you leaving a legacy for your family?
Caregiving as Legacy | Part 1
Have you ever considered caregiving as part of leaving a legacy? A legacy is anything handed down from the past from an ancestor or predecessor. It is usually something of value, something to be desired and hopefully appreciated. When we think of legacy, we think of family, of future generations. And as Christians, hopefully we think of more than money. We want to influence future generations for good, whether we ever know those offspring or not.
An example of a godly legacy is Jonathan Edwards, the Puritan preacher from the 1700s. He and his wife Sarah left a wonderful godly legacy of faithful service for his eleven children. Early in the 20th century, American educator and pastor A.E. Winship traced the descendants of Jonathan Edwards almost 150 years after his death. His offspring included: 1 U.S. Vice-President, 3 U.S. Senators, 3 governors, 3 mayors, 13 college presidents, 30 judges, 65 professors, 80 public office holders, 100 lawyers and
Contrast this with the legacy left by a man known as Max Jukes, whose legacy came to the forefront when the family trees of 42 different men in the New York prison system traced back to him. Max Jukes’ descendants included: 7 murderers, 60 thieves, 50 women of debauchery, 130 other convicts, 310 paupers (with over 2,300 years lived in poorhouses), and 400 who were physically wrecked by indulgent living. It was estimated that Max Juke’s descendants cost the state more than $1,250,000.
We will all leave a legacy. The question is, will it be a legacy of love and generational healing or a legacy of selfishness and generational destruction?