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Leaving a Legacy

While I was busy eating an apple this afternoon, I thought about the saying that it is not the number of seeds in an apple that is important, but

the number of apples in a seed.

The number of seeds in an apple is finite, but there are an infinite number of apples that can grow from one seed. In other words what is the potential hidden in that one seed? More favourable conditions will produce apples of better quality.

I believe the same is true for us humans. No one can predict your offspring in the next ten generations. Ten generations ago the first Malherbe forefather landed in the Cape with other French Huguenots. I have a book with the genealogy of the Malherbes in South Africa and I don’t think that the first Malherbe in the Cape could have foreseen the extent of the family recorded in the book.

But it is not only about the numbers. The other very important aspect is the character and values forwarded from one generation to another. Will our children and their children in the generations to come be industrious, hardworking people with integrity?

The wise king Solomon in Proverbs 22:6 says

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

We cannot influence the fourth or fifth generation down the line, but we have a responsibility to teach our children the principles of good character and to have a good work ethic and trust them to pass on the legacy.

# Two Families – Jonathan Edwards vs Max Jukes

Around 40 years ago, Yale University conducted an extensive seven-year study on how a person’s actions in life affect the lives of his or her children. This study was focused around the lives of two men: Max Jukes and Jonathan Edwards.

Max Jukes was an Atheist that believed in the abolition of laws and rules. Mr. Jukes formed an organization called the Freedom Movement that preached free sex, no laws, no formal education and no responsibilities.

Jonathan Edwards was known by all as the “disciplinarian”. Not because he disciplined his children harshly, but because he was a self-disciplined man. He became a preacher that believed in leading by example. He authored two books on the subjects of physical fitness and kindness. Mr. Edwards later became involved in teaching people to be responsible for their daily actions.

Both of these men were chosen for their diverse beliefs, but also because they both fathered 13 children. Here are the legacies they left behind:


Max Jukes

1026 descendants
300 convicts
27 murderers
190 prostitutes
509 alcoholics & drug addicts

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Jonathan Edwards

929 descendants
430 ministers/314 war veterans
75 authors
86 college professors
13 university presidents
7 congressman
3 governors
1 Vice-President of the United States

Throughout my travels as a professional speaker, I am constantly asked the question of “what effect does self-discipline have on my life?” Sure,

becoming disciplined will change your life for the better, but real results are seen in the legacy we leave behind.

When we begin to use self-discipline to control our emotional highs and lows, our appearance, our work ethic, and our commitment to physical exercise, we are doing much more than improving our own lives. Our ability to begin focusing on our daily performance is directly proportional to the success our generations will experience.

Today is not about you, your job, your bank account, or even your own personal satisfaction. Today is about the legacy you leave behind. This is about living with direction.

A Career Direct Assessment evaluates your values combined with personality, interests and skills to help you really know and understand your authentic self. I can assure you, it makes all the difference.


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