We started this series of Home and Family column by saying that parenthood brings joy and happiness to a couple and that raising children gives some satisfaction which other things may not give. Worldly and material accomplishment without a family still leaves people with a void that needs to be filled. That being the case, we can now see what inheritance we can leave for our cherished children.
Many people have different interpretations of inheritance, but I would offer to say that the best legacy we can leave for our children is a good name. I would further say an unblemished personal reputation is better than riches; and all this should start from the very beginning when children are young. If you as a parent has left foot prints of positivity and integrity, your children would walk in them and this may help them find favor with other people; as your contemporaries and others would see your image in them.
In our earlier articles we said that parents need to be role models so that children will take after them. One of the institutions that can help families build and shape children with good morals and integrity is church or mosque. These places of worship have established structures that groom children into responsible adults. Churches are also good places for mentorship and leadership training.
If we don’t bequeath our children with sound moral principles, there is very little that material things would do for them. If you leave your children with mansions and second hand cars, but without balanced judgment or good interpersonal relationships, or let alone, children grow up unchurched, that’s a big disservice you have done. We need to impart into our family members those values and traits that they can use to navigate in this world that is full of competing demands and intense pressure.
Some of the values we need to leave to our children as an inheritance are the ability to think for themselves and make good decisions. Responsibility, self-reliance, assertiveness and hard work are excellent doses of values that can help children as they grow up. These and many other positive virtues should be part of the regular family curriculum in the home.
The next and most important inheritance we can leave for our children is education. Like what the iconic Nelson Mandela said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.’ Indeed if we leave our children with arsenals of education, we could be rest assured that they can change their ‘world’ for the better. Education gives them advantage in the labor market. There are some children who are very gifted with talents in, say, sports, drama or music. But all these are futile without adequate education.
However, I’d hasten to say that jobs, especially white color jobsin Zambia are becoming fewer every year and employment may continue to elude some young people. Therefore, in educating children we should look further than formal employment. A spirit of entrepreneurship and self-reliance is something we should inculcate in our children. Introducing children early in life to the rules of buying and selling can help them in future.
The other form of inheritance for children is savings. You can open saving accounts for you children early in life. Zambia is ridiculous bad when it comes to inflation and what you may save today may not be much to talk about in ten years’ time. However, if you’re smart and financially literate, you can conjure up some good savings for your children that can take care of inflation. Please consult your banker for advice.
The next inheritance we could leave for our children is a house or accommodation – as many would want to put it. As life is so unpredictable, building a house early or getting a mortgage to buy one is good advice that cannot be overemphasized. Today it has become relatively affordable for many people to acquire a plot and build a house. A word of caution here: take precautions when getting a residential plot as there are many scammers out there who are out to swindle you. As you safeguard yourself from scammers, remember also to have all the necessary papers from the building department of the local authority who are in charge of public housing. Ensure you have title deeds to your property, you may just need to use it as collateral at the bank- another inheritance for your children.
While it’s affordable to acquire a plot, building a house, as those who have tried it would tell you, requires stamina and determination. But when you start building it’s very interesting and the urge to finish pushes you on and on. Another piece of advice: don’t wait for tomorrow to start building, because prices of building material rise every day. So start now!
If you are building a family house make sure you have enough rooms for both boys and girls so they could have their own space. If you can afford it, build another room for visitors.
Don’t wait to start setting up an inheritance for your children, now is the time!
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