I looked at Keith and said, "We need to start thinking about this ourselves. If we don't need it, throw it away. If it will not be important to our kids, toss it. Don't buy any more of something we have plenty of, and if it's broken and we don't get around to mending it or repairing it within a few months, put it in the trash." What we have thrown away in the past three months would have filled half a dozen dumpsters. Our burn barrel has worked overtime on items with confidential information that are far past the need for keeping. Do we really need all three versions of my mother's will or just the most recent? I think the answer to that is pretty obvious. Let's not put our children through this.
Instead, let's look at what we have that is valuable, that would mean something to them, that might actually make their lives easier, and take better care of those things. Let's make sure they are legible, neat, and filed in an obvious place. If I expect them to want any of my cookbooks, let me make the notes in them useful and understandable. If they want my piano music, let's make sure it is filed in alphabetical order and that torn pages are carefully taped back together. Let's write the names and dates on the backs of photographs, and the names of the givers inside gift books. Let's keep owners' manuals in an appropriate place and never leave them outside where the weather might destroy them. And we could go on and on.
All of these are good, but here is something much more important: look at your family today and make a judgment about the spiritual state you are leaving them in. If your children are in high school and still don't know how to sort their laundry or put gas in the car, most people would consider you a poor parent. But if they are in high school and cannot carry on an intelligible conversation about several spiritual matters, including pertinent scriptures, "poor" wouldn't come close to describing your parenting skills. It is not only your job to make them ready for life, it is your job to prepare them for spiritual success as well.
They should be "in training" as apprentice Christians, memorizing scriptures, reading and discussing during family time the meaning of their studies, accompanying you when you visit and when you serve, cooking for others, cleaning for others, handling the yard work for widows or older couples who no longer can (perhaps for their own grandparents), and doing all those things you do as a Christian so they will be able to take over seamlessly when the time comes.
Let's not leave out churches. We should be looking around and imagining the congregation ten, fifteen, twenty years from now. Who will do the teaching? Who will serve as deacons and elders? Are you preparing anyone at all?
I am afraid that too many churches will dry up on the vine when the present crop of older heads dies off. Others will wander off into some sort of sectarianism, drifting from the teachings of the New Testament until they no longer even resemble the church Christ died for because we have forgotten to teach them "Why."
Every generation must look around and prepare for these things, and hope it isn't already too late.
…I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 2Cor12:14