A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous. – Proverbs 13:22
The following are useful rules for those who wish to leave something good to children’s children.
1. Buy nothing but what you really need. Those who accustom themselves to buy things merely because they are pretty, or curious, or are offered a great bargain, are likely to fill their house with NEED-NOTS, and to deprive themselves of the means of obtaining what they need.
2. In purchasing, choose such things as are durable, rather than such as are showy; and what is in itself neat and befitting, rather than what is just the top of the fashion. Fashions soon change, and that which is glaringly fashionable now, will be notoriously unfashionable a little time hence.
3. Though it may sometimes call for the exercise of self-denial, whatever you purchase, or whatever you think you need, be resolute in retaining some cash to meet an unforeseen, an indispensable need. For lack of this precaution, many have been compelled to part with what they wished to preserve, in order to buy something that they could not do without.
4. Endeavor to have different things for different purposes, and to keep each to its proper use. Nothing is more destructive than to make one thing do the work of two or three.
5. Never use a better thing of its kind without being satisfied that a worse would not answer the purpose. Many people, whenever they obtain a new thing, directly lay aside the old one, and forget to use it, or perhaps allow it to be thrown about and destroyed. Such are not likely to leave behind them much that is worth having.
6. If entrusted with the property of others, be as careful of it as if it were your own. This is the likeliest way to be honestly possessed of property yourself, and to acquire a habit of taking care of it.
7. If children are committed to your care, bring them up in habits of knowing the value of property, and the importance of taking care of it. Those who are careful themselves, but allow their children to be extravagant, have little encouragement to lay up property for them to squander.
8. See that, in all your gains, and savings, and prospects—that you keep the fear of God before your eyes. His blessing alone makes rich, and adds no sorrow. Wealth gotten by vanity (that is, unjust, selfish gain) will be soon diminished. It is like putting money into a bag with holes; but a godly man shall leave an inheritance to children’s children.
9. Whatever you leave your children, do not neglect their best interests. Teach them to read; provide them with a Bible; store their minds with good principles, that so they may be prepared to be content with a little, or faithfully to improve and safely to enjoy more; and be sure to lay up for them a good store of prayers. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much; and a parent’s prayers have often been answered in rich blessings on his offspring, long after his head has been laid in the grave. Let the chief concern be for yourselves and them, that you may all be possessors of durable riches and righteousness, a treasure in the heavens which fails not, where neither moth nor rust can corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal!
-Gorham Abbott, The Family At Home