Alphabet Of Manly Virtues: “L” Is For “Legacy”

13 Jun

(“The Alphabet of Manly Virtues” is a 26 post series examining various character traits of godly men. Check back every Tuesday and Thursday for new posts! To view other entries in the series, click here.)

lAs a leadership coach, you would think that I would be writing about ‘leadership’ for the letter L.  After all, leadership is something that is very important in all aspects of our lives, yet simultaneously it’s something I believe is missing in many areas of our society today.  However, had I written about leadership, I wouldn’t have been able to write about ‘Legacy’.

I’ve heard it said you can gauge parental skills by how the grandchildren behave, as only then will you be able to see what was passed on that you taught your kids.  In this sense, your kids become your legacy. While in some ways this scares me, our role as a parent has never been more difficult. It’s also a relief knowing that as the parent I’m afforded the daunting task of raising children, and leaving a positive legacy.

Why It Scares Me

Many people who become parents rely on raising kids through a combination of mimicking their own parents and teaching from the experiences they had growing up as children. For me this was/is a scary proposition, and if you knew me when I was first married, you heard me say that I was never having kids because of the experience I had.

As my childhood was less than spectacular – mom married & divorced twice, didn’t meet my biological father until I was 32, moved around a lot because we were poor – I was afraid to become a father because I didn’t have a good experience to fall back on.  If I were to ever have kids, I knew that I wouldn’t want them to go through the same experiences I went through, and I let that fear control me for several years before my wife & I decided to have children.

Only when I was able to overcome that fear, by trusting in God that He would provide, did my wife & I decide to have kids (which she always wanted).  Our daughter Dani is 2 ½ and baby #2 is due on Jan. 1, 2014, and as scary as it’s been, it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Bits & Pieces of Good

While my upbringing wasn’t ideal, I have taken a few things from my youth that I am doing my best to instill in my daughter and will do the same for future children.

Teaching to Chew Food w/Mouth Closed

My father and my mom’s 2nd husband were both military guys and chewing food with your mouth closed was always important at meal time.  Thankfully my daughter has learned this much differently than I learned it.  She needs a reminder sometimes, but it happens more often than not, something that I’ll (and she’ll) be thankful for later in life.

Global Relationships

Being a military kid born in West Germany, I had the opportunities to travel to some cool places while my mom was still married. While I don’t want to put my family through the rigorous travel that many military families endure, I know how important it will be for my children to embrace other cultures as the world is becoming more global.  Having the curiosity to try new things and to travel is something we’re already doing by teaching her additional languages and showing her where they come from.


Saying please & thank-you is still so important for young people to learn.  Just like chewing food with her mouth closed, I’m certain that she’ll sometimes need reminders later on in life, but it’s that important to begin now.

Building Your Legacy

While my wife & I believe it’s important to do the things above, I’m blessed to be married to a Godly woman who helped me come to Christ before we were married.  In fact, she wouldn’t even date me!  (Good for her!)  We can’t control everything our children do, especially as they grow older, but it’s important to lay the correct foundation and to not abdicate the responsibility of parenthood to society or the education system.  We both believe that the true legacy a parent can leave their children is a trusting relationship with God:

“We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.  Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds, but would keep his commands.”  Psalm 78:4-7 NIV

Show your children what you expect of them by being that for them now.  Love your spouse in front of your children. Be careful of the words you use, increase the positive words and decrease the negative ones. Spend time with the Lord & your children together.  They both deserve quality time & quantity time.

That is the legacy that I desire to leave, that my children saw their Dad living a Godly life, loving their mother, and serving the Lord. (For more on leaving a legacy, visit here)

What is the legacy you want to leave?  Go and begin writing it now!


-Steve Goble


Steve Goble is a leadership & business coach and Founding Partner of the John Maxwell Team.  He partners with individuals and business to help them solve problems, accomplish their goals, and achieve their dreams.  You can connect with Steve on Twitter, LinkedIn, or get a gift from John Maxwell by joining the ‘Building a Better You’ Community at Steve lives in Lancaster County, PA with his wife Diane, daughter Dani, and baby #2 due on Jan. 1, 2014.

3 Responses to “Alphabet Of Manly Virtues: “L” Is For “Legacy””

  1. For the Love of God June 13, 2013 at 16:37 #

    I would add in regard to school and the education system, dont allow the local church to be the parent. Many churches feel like they have too. Its important to be as involved with your child as they grow in ministry times as well!

    • Steve Goble June 14, 2013 at 11:44 #

      Great point, that happens too much as well! Thanks for sharing!


  1. ‘More Than a Beard’ Guest Post - June 13, 2013

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