I’ve spent some time thinking about what I want to leave to my children after I'm gone. It's important to think beyond the will.
Preparing for Every Eventuality
For most people, the moment you become a parent—or maybe even the moment you learn that you are to become a parent—your outlook changes. There is another person that you are wholly responsible for; you have to make sure that this new person has everything they need in their life, but even more than that, you have to make sure that if anything happens to you this little person will be taken care of.
New parents subconsciously begin to behave more responsibly—they might drive more carefully or stop any dangerous habits they may have because they know that they have to be there for their children. For this same reason, even young parents often have a will drawn up and choose godparents who will take care of their children if they pass away while their children are young.
This is a time when people plan for any eventuality because it is not enough to make sure that your children are fed and clothed or that they go to a good school and participate in their favorite activities. We need to make a plan for their future too, whatever that may be. Our children should not have to worry about a thing if they are young when we leave this world; they will have enough to deal with. And, although it’s not the most pleasant thing to think about, we need to make a plan and make sure that there will be someone to take care of them.
I’ve spent some time thinking about this. Who will take care of my children if their father and I are both gone? Where will they go? I’ve even thought about what I will miss out on if I am to leave while they are young and what they will remember about me.
I, of course, hope and plan to be here for them for many years to come, and I have stories, advice and memories to share with them for many future occasions. I hope they will understand what I am telling them and remember my words because these are the things that I will leave behind for them. I hope that they will remember and maybe even share my words with their own children someday.
We all know that there are no perfect families, and certainly no perfect parents. There are good times and bad times. So, I want to make the most of all the good times to speak to my kids, to teach them values and life lessons, to instruct them on how to be good people and to teach them about their family history, even if it’s a favorite family recipe or an amusing story about their great aunt who they never met.
These Are the Things That I Want to Leave With My Children:
Here is my list of 7 things I want to leave with my children when I'm gone.
1. My Advice for Them
I want my children to know that they can do anything that they want to do. They should always believe in themselves. We have always let our children into all the big decisions we’ve made, they know all about buying a property, they know how to be frugal when they need to be, and they know how to run a business, because we have always been open and honest with them and let them see how the real world works. I know that when the time comes my children will be prepared to go out into the world and ace it!
2. Family Memories
Old family photo albums and more recent computer folders of family photos, all sorted out and up to date. Every picture brings back a memory. We occasionally look through our pictures together and I remind them of where they were taken and what we did that day. There is nothing more precious than family memories. I will leave the gifts that they have made for me and that I have kept over the years, because I know that this will show them how important they were to me.
3. Family Stories
Our stories are memories too. My children were very young when we lost their grandparents but they remember them through the stories that I tell them. One day they will pass the stories of our family on to their children to cherish.
4. Family Recipes
Recipes are memories, too. Memories of the times that we spent together in the kitchen while I taught them to cook. Memories of the meals they made us, no matter how grand or how simple. Family recipes bond us with our ancestors that we never got to meet. Recipes are part of our past and part of our future.
5. My Wishes for Me
When I am gone my children will have to deal with a lot of things. I want it to be as easy for them as possible. I want them to know what I want for myself. I would like to spare them the additional stress of making decisions regarding what they hope that I would have wanted. I will have everything written down for them and if they are at an age where it is appropriate I will discuss my wishes for me with them.
6. My Wishes for Them
My wishes for my children are the same as those of all the other parents that love their children more than anything else in the world. My children know what I wish for them. I wish them love and happiness. I wish them health. I wish for them to have the most interesting and successful lives that they can have. I wish for them to be responsible and respected adults. I wish for them to be true to themselves.
I will repeat these wishes again and again, so they do not forget how important they are to me and what I wish for them.
7. My Regrets
Yes, I have regrets. I regret not perusing the field that interested me, I regret staying in a job I hated for over a decade, I regret making decisions based on peer pressure. I want my children to know that I am not happy with all the decisions that I made in my life, I want them to know what I wish I had done and how I changed some of these things around. I have regrets and I want my children to know that it is okay to have regrets and it is okay to make changes in your life and it is okay to not do everything that you wanted to do.
So, those are the things that I want to leave with my children. When they were small I wrote all of this down in a journal that one day will be theirs. But, I am not waiting until that day. I tell them every day how much I love them.
Before we leave our loved ones we must tell them how important they are to us and how much we appreciate them being in our lives.
We must leave our children knowing that they are prepared and with our love and memories to help pull them through.
Have you had a will drawn up or made any other plans for your children’s futures?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Carol Morris (author) on July 21, 2017:
Thanks, Ms Dora. I think that the reason recipes are so important to me is that I wasn't really taught to cook by my mother, but when my husband's parents passed away I saw how important family food tradition is to him and I made a point of learning how to cook the foods from the country they came from, which I am passing on to my kids.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 21, 2017:
Great article! I can identify with every aspect except recipes. (My children learned cooking from sources other than me.) My children are adults now, and your thoughts in this article are also mine constantly.