This last week, I signed the final paperwork for my dad’s estate.
He passed away two and a half years ago but having a self-employed business and a house fire made the final settlement slow.
There is some money but not a lot when divided among eight children.
We as a family have been fortunate. Many a family feud has erupted over who gets what from an estate.
There has been no bickering, nor fighting. I am very thankful that two of my brothers agreed to the big job of being executors.
Yet in the midst of losing dad, and then dividing up the estate, a scripture comes to mind. “A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children,” Proverbs 13:22.
While it is good to enjoy the fruit of your own labour, it is also good to store some of that fruit for future generations.
Many people have been blessed by self-sacrificing parents, myself included.
There is more left as a legacy than just money and stuff. A wise parent will pass on some of their skills and passions without imposing them.
Out of eight children, six of us have followed different careers that dad enjoyed: three are pastors, two are photographers and one is involved with sales.
The other two are involved in office work, which was my mother’s strength.
Music was also a passion of dad. He played the church organ, accordion, trumpet and the saw. He then could pick up many other instruments and play them by ear.
He could even get the strange theremin to work.
My family has picked up on this passion and most of us play musical instruments.
Some of us lead worship in churches, although we use guitars and keyboards. Many of the grandchildren also love and play musical instruments.
The biggest legacy from both my mom and dad has been a desire to pursue a deeper relationship with God.
Both loved God and brought us kids up to love God too. They not only taught us, they demonstrated it by living a vibrant Christian life.
They were not perfect, but even those times had learning potential.
“Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it,” Proverbs 22:6.
Dad had a soft and compassionate heart.
He was quiet about it but would give the shirt off his back if you needed it. He loved giving hitchhikers a ride.
One time he picked up a hitchhiker from France who was spending the summer travelling Canada. Dad brought him home and Gilles stayed with us a week. It was a great cross-cultural experience for us and I still have a desire to visit France.
Dad taught us to be generous by doing it. He really did follow the golden rule to “do to others what you would have them do to you,” Matthew 7:12.
Both Mom and Dad gave us a hand up in many areas of life.
Money and stuff are nice to inherit but the true riches they have given us are those skills and good character traits that they taught and modeled for us many years ago.
Thanks Mom! Thanks Dad!
– Rick Steingard is pastor at King of Kings Church in Midway