Articles, activities for boomers & seniors
A Call to Boldness to Invest in the Next Generation - As part of the application process to a seminary eighteen months ago I created a resume. The exercise forced me to document major accomplishments in my life. After printing the final draft of my curriculum vitae I felt a great sense of fulfillment to see my modest personal and professional achievements on paper: entrepreneurship as a teenager, participation in college athletics, study abroad experiences, fluency in a foreign language, multiple professional achievements and awards, steady civic engagement, and the creation of successful businesses.
Pride soured to humility as my eyes reached the bottom of the page – I could not take credit for my “achievements.” My life is a composite of the collective efforts, directly and indirectly, of my parents, grandparents, and others. My resume was more than just an inventory of personal transactions but the balance sheet of blessings in my life.
Lifestyles over 50 was born out of this legacy. As a teen I grew up next to my grandparents (on my mother’s side) in the Cetronia area west of Allentown. My grandparents were ahead of their time. In hindsight they were like the modern boomer grandparents of today; affectionate, loving, and active in playing with their grandchildren.
I have countless memories of playing tennis with my grandparents (it was not until I was 16 that I could beat my 65-year-old grandmother in a singles match), playing tag in the swimming pool, and a litany of other games. The physical and relational proximity allowed me to enjoy their principled essence and zeal for life. They were active, hard working, and faithfully committed to their family as well as their parish.
Words cannot express the appreciation for these experiences. While my grandfather has passed, I still witness the same exuberant love from my 80-something-year-old grandmother towards my own children, her great grandchildren, as she sits on the floor and plays with them. In addition,
I had the good fortune to know my other two grandparents and experience their love, selflessness, and integrity. While I was not as close to my father’s parents I reaped the benefits of two lives well-lived. I truly believe that the integrity with which they lived provided generational blessings that my family now enjoys.
The opportunities, quality of life, and this very attitude of appreciation are attributed to their legacies. I am a product of my grandparents’ legacy. You are also a product of your grandparents and parents’ legacies, too.
This year we will challenge readers with a series on legacy. Specifically, what is your legacy, and what are you doing to invest in the next generation? Simplistically, I define legacy as the impact of one life upon another. Legacy is those things about your life that transcend your physical time on earth: principles, talents/skills, and memories.
Below are three considerations for creating legacy:
Legacy is personal. Suffice it to say that your legacy starts with you. A positive and strong legacy emanates from a positive and strong person of character. Do you know what you believe and why you believe it?
Principles are the foundation of character. We must constantly strive to live virtuously and have those virtues manifest in our lives. While no one is perfect a commitment to a higher set of values above our own selfish desires is a worthy calling.
We must get right with ourselves first before we can impact others. A legacy can be as much negative as it can be positive. Reduce and eliminate character flaws like anger and bitterness as well as addictions and self-sabotaging behaviors. Cut dysfunctional generational cycles and pursue selfless love.
Below are three considerations for creating legacy:
Legacy is relational. You may have heard it said that “rules without relationship leads to rebellion”. No one likes to be preached at or lectured. When you invest time in people and they feel that you truly care about them then you gain tremendous influence in their lives. Humans are genetically wired to be social beings but no other time in history have individuals been more isolated. Many cultural problems are due to a lack of social interaction and manifestations of love. Step into this gap to form and cultivate deep relationships.
Legacy is intentional. Often we are consumed pursuing our needs and desires, but those endeavors are fleeting. The thoughts, feelings, and memories about you will be the only thing that outlives you. Sure, you may leave behind heirlooms, an inheritance or your name on a building, but ultimately how people feel when they think about you when interacting with those things transcends the bequest. If you aspire for your children and grandchildren to live with meaning, purpose, and convictions then you should make it a priority to invest in the next generation.
I am a father of three young boys, and it is easier for me to hand them a screen than to actively be with them. After all, I am busy providing for the family, maintaining a household, and pursuing other noble causes. Yet, in honest moments, I must remind myself of the vital role of training my children. As families continue to disintegrate grandparents are playing an increasing role in shaping the characters of their grandchildren. I have seen many relocate to be closer to family, retire early, and work tireless to help their adult children and grandchildren. I applaud you for your efforts!
We must all commit to living boldly, not out of fear, and bless the next generation with encouragement, affirmation, and edification. Strong or weak, positive or negative you will leave a legacy. Commit to investing in the next generation today.
Jeff Tintle, Jr. is the founder and publisher of Lifestyles over 50. He and his wife have three boys and live in Macungie. The topic of “Leaving a Legacy” has been made into a presentation available for senior groups. To request Jeff or another Lifestyles over 50 speaker to present to your senior group call 855-233-7034.