Tuesday, September 29, 2020

l'dor v'dor: generation to generation

l'dor v'dor
Hebrew, meaning "from generation to generation." 

i am reading GENERATION TO GENERATION by Yael Eckstein, and it is reminding me of the importance of passing on a legacy of faith to my children. 

what is l'dor v'dor in your family? here are some things i think are worth passing on from generation to generation...  

// FAITH what am i teaching my kids about faith? prayer? God? hope? heaven? i like to imagine my kids as adults with their own families, praying the same prayers with their children that i pray with them today. how am i modeling faith now so that when they face struggles and uncertainty in the future, they will respond with a heart that fully trusts God? a strong and true faith in Jesus would be the absolute best gift i can imagine leaving for my children, my grandchildren, and future generations beyond me.

// MEMORIES & STORIES don't you just love hearing stories from your parent's childhood? or your grandparent's childhood? there is something truly special about stories that are passed down from generation to generation. it's legacy! living legacy-focused will keep me mindful of the importance of making memories with my family. 

// PHOTOGRAPHS there was a time when people only took photographs on special occasions because getting them processed and printed was such a big deal. to have snapshots of my family's past means the world to me, and i imagine it will mean the world to our children. take pictures and PRINT THEM. put them in albums. don't leave them living on your phone that will be a worthless dinosaur 20 years from now.    

// TRADITIONS what traditions does your family have now that were passed on to you by your parents or grandparents? aren't those the best? the smell of garlic toast reminds me of our family's Christmas Eve tradition of going to look at Christmas lights in the neighborhood after spaghetti dinner. my mom grew up with that same tradition and passed it on to me, and it's a tradition i have brought to my family now. tried and true family traditions are what we remember year after year, and are what we can pass on to future generations; not the presents or the amount of money we spent.

// RECIPES you know the ones: nini's buttermilk pie. mom's spaghetti and garlic bread. dad's tabouli. grandma's sausage balls. these are the recipes that are not only delicious but are staples of family meals, especially on holidays. they are handwritten on cards that are now tattered and aged, but they stand the test of time and because i make the effort to pass them on, these recipes will absolutely be shared on tables long after i'm gone.   

// VALUES what does your family value? education? service? strong work ethic? faith? generosity? take some time to think about what (positive) values were instilled in you as a child and what kind of values you want for your family and future generations. writing a family mission statement or establishing non-negotiable priorities will help frame family values that can then be passed on and part of your legacy. write it out, talk about it, and purposely pass it on.

// ROUTINES & HABITS my Grandma sat at the kitchen table every morning and drank a mug of hot water. not coffee - just plain water. when i find a good parking spot i say, out loud, every single time: "thank You Jesus." my husband has a habit of throwing a dishtowel over his shoulder when he's cooking or eating a meal. my mom brings my kids a bag of "treats" - random newspaper articles, happy meal toys, pens from hotels she's stayed in - every time she comes to visit. what my kids love is not the trinkets inside the bag, but the fun habit of Granny bringing it to them. these are small, every day, established habits that are unique to us and that are likely to be (accidentally) passed on to the next generation. saying grace before dinner. leaving notes for the family to let them know where you're going and when you'll be back. saying "peace be with you / and also with you" when leaving the house. it's the little things. what routines and habits might you be passing on? 

// NAMES & NICKNAMES my Grandma's name was passed on to me and i passed it on to my daughter, and i pray she passes it on to her daughter and so on. a family nickname gets passed around to toddlers. uncle's nickname is shared with another cousin. giving our children family names and passing along beloved nicknames is an easy, meaningful way to leave a lasting legacy.

// HEIRLOOMS heirlooms hold special meaning to your family. baptism gowns. jewelry. art. quilts. any object that your family values and that will be cherished for years to come can be a legacy for future generations. the funny thing about heirlooms is that they don't usually start out with the intention to be an heirloom. an heirloom is usually something that is particularly valuable AND meaningful to a person throughout their lifetime, with that person not realizing the potential of that item's legacy. for instance, when a deployed soldier buys a diamond ring to propose to his girlfriend back home, he isn't thinking about it's heirloom potential at the time. but 3 or 4 generations later when that same ring has been passed down among the family, with the stories of the past, that ring is a cherished family heirloom. an heirloom might lose it's monetary value over time, but that's okay because it's the significance and meaning of it that matters.   

// SKILLS & INTERESTS what are your family's skills and interests? music. gardening. crocheting. sports. arts. cooking or baking. home decorating. fashion. teaching. consider the interests that you and your family prioritize. was your dad an avid golfer and now you are, too? was your mom an event planner and now you have a knack for organizing parties? it's not by accident! the things we show interest in and invest our time in today just might be the things future generations are interested in, as well. 

a legacy comes from a life lived on purpose. the legacy we leave is the life we lead. let's consider the life we're living, the things we are doing, and let's live on purpose, legacy-minded, so that the things we do today are worthy of being passed on.

to get a sense of the honor, responsibility, and urgency of your true legacy, i highly recommend reading GENERATION TO GENERATION by Yael Eckstein. Eckstein is President and CEO of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the largest provider of humanitarian aid in Israel. her perspective on legacy and faith is eye-opening. you can find more info about her on the book site, www.generationbook.org

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews was founded in 1983 by Orthodox Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, whose vision for building bridges of understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews has been translated into the largest Christian-supported humanitarian agency helping Jews in Israel and around the world. You can learn more about the organization and Rabbi Eckstein here.

For more than 2,000 years, the Jewish people have preserved and maintained their faith from generation to generation, despite being exiled from their land and suffering persecutions, pogroms, and even the Holocaust, where six million Jewish women, men, and children were killed at the hands of the Nazis. In her book, Generation to Generation, Fellowship President and CEO Yael Eckstein unlocks the keys to how the Jewish people have successfully passed on the legacy of faith through the family, and offers insights into how Christians can incorporate these principles within their own families to pass on a strong and living faith.