I knew it would happen years before the trip came. I saved up money to buy souvenirs. I studied maps. I dreamed with Dad about what we would do when we got there. But the significance of my trip to Israel with my Dad when I was only 13 is only now beginning to take shape for me.

Dad told me from an early age that he would take me to Israel when I was 13 because I would start becoming a man then. It was about the closest thing to a Bar Mitzvah that a Protestant Hoosier can get. Dad told me it would be just him and me for this trip too! We would celebrate who I was becoming and make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to commemorate it. This trip was a special event for me as I came into my own as a young man. It was a pivotal point Dad went way out of his way to make happen for me. I can look back at it today and see the intentional way he built a legacy for me.

A Legacy Trip

It is hard for me to think of that trip now without thinking of other fathers. Many people heard of the trip we took, and the identical one my brother took the year of his 13th birthday. Several other fathers ended up taking their kids on trips like these with their children as a result. One father called them “Legacy Trips” and even mentioned them in his heavy speaking schedule. A few of those fathers ended up leaving their wives, and blowing up their families. Those kids got taken on a “legacy trip” of a very different sort. As I recall this, I think that regardless of the great Israel trip event that many people look to as an example of my Dad’s character, it means nothing in comparison to the daily legacy he has left and, by the way, continues to leave to me today.

The legacy of a father is not left in a day. Nor is it left in one trip. In every case, a legacy is not calculated until you are dead and your life can be measured in total sum. Having a “few good years” as a father is not the goal of any Dad. Being Dad on purpose is leaving an authentic, lasting, and intentional legacy.

We want to leave a legacy that not only our kids will treasure, but that our kids’ kids will contemplate and carry on themselves. With this kind of lasting legacy our family tree can expand not just in quantity but also in quality. This will occur because of the strong legacy of roots that we are securing firmly every day of our lives. We can do this. We will finish well. We can leave a legacy that outlives our own lives. But we can only do it if our private legacy behind the curtain and beyond the limelight is more potent than the one others like to talk about.


Questions to Ask Yourself or a Group of Other Dads:

  1. What are the best parts of the legacy others in your family have left you? And what’s the best part of the legacy you’re already leaving?
  2. How would you define the word legacy?
  3. How can you leave a more authentic legacy?
  4. How can you leave a more lasting legacy?
  5. How can you leave a more intentional legacy? What events or trips could make it a more significant memory?


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