God has called us to be good stewards of what he has given us and to serve others by utilizing our gifts. However, as our generation gaps get wider, it becomes more difficult to not only serve others, but also communicate with them altogether. This can have a direct impact on the effectiveness and influence of not just our lives, but most importantly, our legacy.

Demographers have identified four primary groups among the people born in the 20th Century. The first group is The Traditionalists (born 1900 – 1945). This group experienced three wars and the Great Depression which caused them widespread economic hardship. This left a deep mark on that generation which resulted in a cautious, frugal mentality that they carried over into the workplace.

Next we have the Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1964). I am a Baby-boomer as well and we experienced the civil rights movement, the Vietnam and Cold War, the assassinations of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and a promise of “The American Dream.” We also experienced the birth of major electronic media and I personally believe that having the television become a fixture in every home is where the seeds of the entitlement mentality were planted.

The next generation to come along were the Baby Busters (born 1965 – 1983). This group experienced Watergate, the energy crisis, dual income families, the end of the cold war and the explosion of single-parenting. Their perceptions were shaped by having to take care of themselves while watching politicians lie, parents losing their jobs, and families being ripped apart by divorce.

The Mosaics make up the most recent generation (born 1984 – 2002). They have experienced the explosive growth of technology like no other generation before them. They have also experienced the negativity that advanced technology ushered in with it – school shootings, terrorist attacks, medical crises, and September 11, 2001.

Mosaics are known as coddled kids and have most every moment of their days scheduled with some type of activity. Their lifestyles are more diverse, including education, career, family, values, and leisure. They don’t want to be defined by “normal.”

It seems the feeling of entitlement has really grown in the last two generations. “I think it, therefore I must have it, NOW!” is a common mantra heard in main-stream media, advertising, and even around our own kitchen tables. The “now” mentality has had a direct effect on the growing amount of personal debt as instant gratification is now the norm, instead of an anomaly. It has also overshadowed the importance of legacy and long-term impact.

Regardless of what generation you are from or what mindset you have, it is important for you to understand that God has already defined your legacy and called you to a specific purpose here on earth. He has also blessed you with his legacy through the covenant he made with Abraham. All you have to do is claim it. So as far as the need for instant gratification goes, consider yourself served.

Galatians 3:29 confirms, “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

How you live your life includes the way you communicate, how you utilize your gifts to serve others, the personal values you reflect, how you receive and give your blessings, and your perspective on money and wealth. Each factor here will determine the impact you have now, as well as the impact your legacy will have on your heirs and future generations.

If you would like to find out more about your God-given legacy in the areas of Heritage, Vision, Relationships, Values and Assets, you may want to check out my just released book Your Future Reflection: How to Create and Pass Forward a Legacy Beyond Money Today, it’s time to embrace your legacy!

Guy Hatcher – known as The Legacy Guy – has spent his lifetime helping families plan their legacy. A Certified Financial Planner, Guy has been a leader in the wealth management industry, which has allowed him to have over "10,000 Kitchen Table Conversations." This real-life experience merged with Guy's unique conversation style makes him financial advisor, family coach and family counselor. His new book, Your Future Reflection: How to Leave a Legacy Beyond Money, is now available at Amazon.com.  Follow him on twitter @guyhatcher. www.guyhatcher.com

Publication date: January 9, 2014