I like the idea of family heirlooms. Something tangible and meaningful that I can pass on to my kids that will give them a lasting connection and memory of previous generations of our family. I often think about what I could give them. My grandfather had a nice Swiss watch that I received after he died, but it isn't working and just sits in a drawer. I also received a Winchester rifle for deer hunting that my Grandfather used, but when I took it to the range, I realized the barrel was worn out. It did not shoot very accurately at all anymore. My mother gave me a wall clock that had been in my family for years. It was beautiful, and I remember its pleasant chime that announced every hour when I was a kid. After winding it up and hanging it on the wall, we realized that it wasn't working either. Its chiming days were over.
It seemed that the only things I had to hand down to my kids were not working, broken and useless. Then I thought about giving my kids one of my old bibles. As I looked through them I found that they were all well worn, marked up and falling a part.
I think these are all reminders that everything in this world becomes broken and useless. Everything of this world that we hand down to our kids will break, wear out or fall apart.
The most important thing we can hand down to the next generation is our faith. It is our faith in Jesus that will never spoil, rot or fade. It will never break, wear out or fall apart.
I don't mean just to hand down the outward expression of faith, like going to church and praying before meals. Those things are important as long as they point to Jesus, but if they become what's most important then they have lost their value entirely.
I realized that I have already been handing down to my kids what is most valuable, a example of walking with Jesus. Every time I pray with my kids, every time we read the Bible together, every time we love our neighbor, we are giving them something that will last for eternity through modeling a relationship with God.
An important part of our model to our kids should be giving and receiving forgiveness. Our kids know more than most people that we are not perfect. We don't model perfection; we model people who live by grace. We can teach them how to deal with our imperfections by asking for forgiveness and teaching them about the forgiveness of Christ every chance we get.
I ended up giving each of my kids one of my worn out, marked up, Bibles that are falling apart. I did that not so they can pass on those books to their kids, but so they can pass down the example of reading it, using and marking it up. The ability and desire to hear God's voice through is Word is what's most important to give to the generations to come.
The New York Times carried an obituary of Victor Dorman. It read, "Victor Dorman, who helped change the way Americans buy cheese by putting the paper between the slices, as chairman of the Dorman Cheese Company, died on March 4th, at his home in Delray Beach, Fla. He was 80."
Dorman actually graduated from a prestigious college and fought in WWII. He lived an impressive and successful life. But in the end, it was one quirky little thing that left a lasting impact.
Pay attention to all of the details of your life. The things that you do, big and small, can leave a lasting impact.
"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." (1 Peter 4:10).
The niece of Hitler's deputy Hermann Goering has had herself sterilized rather than risk giving birth to 'a monster.' This, and other revelations are a part of a documentary about the forgotten children of the Third Reich, called 'My Family, the Nazis and Me.'
Allan Hall, with MailOnline, reports:
Israeli Chanoch Zeevi, director, said he found 'fascinating similarities' between the emotions of those related to Holocaust perpetrators and those of survivors, some of whom meet the children of their tormentors in the programme.
'I have made a powerful dialogue between the children of the perpetrators and the children of the survivors,' he said. 'Both live out the Holocaust daily, unable to move forward with their lives.'
... Niklas Frank remembers seeing concentration camp prisoners tormented as his father chuckled. 'Thin men were mounted on to a wild donkey and the donkey bucked and the men fell off, and they could only pick themselves up again very slowly, and they didn't find it as funny as I did,' he said.
'And again and again they got back on and the donkey was given a slap and again they fell off and they tried to help each other; it was a fantastic afternoon. Then we had cocoa. These are the … images I carry around of my father … I have never managed in my life to get rid of the memory of him,' he said. 'I live with this deep shame about what he did.'
... Monika Hertwig cannot accept anything about her own father. As commandant of the Auschwitz sub-camp of Plaszow, he was hanged in 1946 for the murder of tens of thousands of people, 500 of them by his own hands.
'He liked to shoot women with babies in their arms from the balcony of his house, to see if one bullet could kill two,' she said. 'How much of the murderer is in me? These are the things that torment me.'
The Hebrew prophet Isaiah declared God’s heart when he wrote, “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isaiah 1:18, ESV).
Notice, God speaks of your sins, not your parents' sins. We are not responsible for what our forbearers have done, only for what we have personally perpetuated. And even in that case, the shame and guilt can be made “white as snow” by the blood of Christ.
What a tragedy that anyone would continue to live in the shadow of the sins of others, when they don’t even have to live under the burden or shadow of their own.
Ironically, it’s a Jew, a member of the race so hated by their parents, who offers to remove the shame placed on them by those same parents.