What is the Legacy You Are Leaving to Your Children?

Purposeful Parent Tip:  Your kids don’t want your stuff. They want you.

For those of you following me on Facebook, you know that my week has been consumed with what I have lovingly dubbed the “2012 Spring Cleaning Project.” For several days, I have scrubbed, dusted, vacuumed, sorted, discarded, and re-organized six rooms of my house. While there are a few more to go, the house already feels and looks better.

The other day, I tackled my bedroom. Not that this is the messiest room in the house but its closet is where I store mementos, gifts, my kids’ journals and of course, my own. There are at least 20 journals filled from cover to cover with my thoughts, feelings, hopes and visions for the future. As I re-organized them on the shelf, I wondered if I should box them up and place them in the attic so that I might retrieve more precious closet space. Somehow that seemed wrong.

For the past 10-15 years or so, on and off, I have written in my journal nearly every day. The first few are small notebooks, others are more decorative, and my most recent is “A Woman’s Journal”, (which is my favorite), was given to me by a friend years ago. This journal is now out of print and I have scoured the Internet to try to find more. While Amazon did produce a few somewhat battered copies, I recognized that maybe it is time to move on and try a new style. It feels odd, but change can be good.

As I was sifting through the many journals, I thought that there will come a day when I’m no longer here and these will be left for my children to do with as they please. Let’s hope they don’t sell them on e-Bay!

If they do choose to read them, they will see that their mom was a complex person – filled with dreams and hopes for herself and for them. Additionally they will see that there were times when I was completely frustrated, stressed, and ready to give up. Either way, they will likely see sides of me they were never aware of because while I do have a tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve, my kids rarely see that.

On days when I’m in a good place and can see the purpose in my life, my journal
entries are uplifting – even inspiring, if I do say so myself. On those days, when I ponder my existence, the entries are, well, let’s just say… not so uplifting. But wouldn’t that be true for anyone? Am I really any different than the millions of moms out there today who are just trying to do the best they can?

You may ask then why do I journal on those not-so-great days? Why don’t I just skip writing when I’m not in my happy place? Aren’t I concerned about what my kids will think when they read these entries? Not really. You see, if and when my children decide to read my journals (it’ll likely be my daughter who will want the dirt on her mom. My son will be bored after page one!), they will see their mom perhaps as a flesh and blood human being, not the “figurehead” who chauffeurs them to sports activities, nags them about homework and bribes them to eat their vegetables. They’ll see that being a parent is not all peaches and cream but rather an uphill climb that requires strength, patience, consistency, and faith.

Yes, my kids will see my weaknesses. Yes, they will see my flaws. But they also may see that I loved them more than life itself and while parenting was not easy, it’s the best job I’ve ever had. Despite me writing about how there were days when I wanted to “kick them both to the curb”, they are the loves of my life and they teach me every day that I have to push through my weaknesses and utilize my strengths to help both them and me in our life’s journey.

Think about your own legacy to your children. Will it be a prized piece of jewelry or will it be something more? It’s the “something more” that they will remember and treasure. I encourage you to investigate what that means for you today so that they’ll have something from you tomorrow.

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Jennifer Covello, Copyright 2011-2024