The Inheritance We Leave for Our Children Extends Beyond Material Things

Boy with yellow shirt and orange pants gets a kiss from a girl in pigtails wearing a pink shirt and blue jeans as they sit together on some stone steps outside.

Passing on good character traits to our children may be the best form of inheritance we can give them. (Image: Volodymyr Tverdokhlib via Dreamstime)

When people are successful in their careers and lives, they think of building assets and plan for making provisions for their kids. While there is nothing wrong with allocating money, land, and other possessions you have for the next generation, you should understand that inheritance is not limited to material belongings. Inheritance is also about the values you impart to your kids, the ethics you teach them, and the human qualities you enlighten them about.

The importance of non-material inheritance

While making legal provisions for distributing your property and monetary assets to your kids, you should ensure that they are in a position to make the best use of those things. If your offspring are not mature and wise enough to handle money and wealth, they will just end up squandering them. When they possess the maturity, knowledge, and wisdom to handle the inherited wealth, they may be able to grow the wealth and use it for greater causes. This is a far greater inheritance.

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Passing values on to your children

If you want your children to prosper in life and make the best use of their inherited assets and wealth, it is necessary that you teach them some important values and help them develop their traits from a tender age.

Teach them to be kind

The world needs a lot of kindness and it is better if kids can be taught this from an early age. Teach your baby boy or girl to be kind to people and even animals. You can read them stories with an emphasis on virtue and help them perform acts of kindness to instill the feeling in them. Small acts of kindness like feeding a stray dog or putting out water for birds in the summertime can go a long way in teaching kindness to your kids.

Small acts like feeding a stray dog can go a long way in teaching kindness to your kids.
Small acts like feeding a stray dog can go a long way in teaching kindness to your kids. (Image: Ivonne Wierink via Dreamstime)

Practice what you preach

Your kids will find your words convincing only when they see that your actions match, so make it a point to model the behavior you want to see in your kids. For example, if you tell them the benefits of rising early but you don’t wake up until 9:30 am, that will not cut much ice. If you expect them to be respectful of others, be sure to treat them with respect.

Do not ignore warning signs

Sometimes parents dismiss inappropriate behavior in their kids, dismissing it as just an act of immaturity. However, this can lead to problems later. For example, if you find your child likes to pull the leaves off the flowers or shrubs in the yard, do not overlook it. If left unattended, he/she may keep on doing it later too. So, watch for such acts and explain to the kids why they aren’t suitable.

Be encouraging instead of negative

There are parents who reprimand their kids or compare them to others in a negative light. This is something that’s best avoided as it creates a rift between the child and the parents, making it harder to teach them values. Instead of always pointing out their shortcomings, encourage them to always try their best. This helps them develop a positive outlook towards life.

The inheritance we leave our children extends beyond material things.
Encouraging your kids will help them develop a positive outlook on life. (Image: Fizkes via Dreamstime)

Be patient and have practical expectations

Some parents want their kids to be perfect in everything and have unrealistic expectations. This can end up making their children distant and indifferent. To ensure your kids can learn and accept the values you teach, give them time and space. Realize that kids will have their own pace of learning and adopting your values.

Do not let them pick up rudeness or bullying

Kids need to be told why being rude or bullying peers is not a good thing to do. When you spot such acts on TV or in real life, explain to your kids how bad it makes the victims feel. When they realize how hurtful it is, they will not pick up such habits.

Teaching your kids certain values and morals will help them become wise, kind, and better human beings. This is a far better inheritance than leaving material wealth for them. However, this is not an overnight thing and you need to be patient and tactful in your approach.

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