One Simple Key to Passing on Your Family Vision
Families with a multi-generational vision know that it takes buy-in from the members of the family “team.”
Generation 1 may have dreamed up an inspiring vision for their family, but it won’t do much good if they don’t successfully transfer it to Generations 2 and 3.
(I’ll address one simple but effective practice for transmitting vision and values a little further on.)
A family’s vision, mission and values provide purpose and direction for working together as a team to do something worthwhile. Here’s what I mean by these terms:
- Vision: your family’s dream for the future.
- Mission: how your family will accomplish your vision.
- Values: your family’s guiding principles, life lessons and preferences—the beliefs that form the why of what you do.
When well-developed, these hold potential to articulate a family’s distinctive identity and purpose to each member.
But none of this happens by default. It takes intentional effort to push back against the status quo—the idea that family is mainly just an enjoyable and enriching part of our lives (when things go well), or our safety net to help us through hard times.
I’m convinced God designed families for much more than just fun or mutual support. Family is meant to be where each next generation learns who God is, who they are and how to use all that they’ve been given for good.
A key for values transfer
Family giving. That’s the simple key. Choosing to give as a family is a powerful practice for discussing and transmitting values.
Whether small or great, the amounts we give are less important than the conversations around giving.
Consider these tips for creating great conversations around giving:
- Start with your Not. What do we not want to give to, and why not?
- What are organizations or causes that most align with our family’s vision, mission and values? If you haven’t yet developed vision or mission statements, start with values. What you’d consider supporting with your dollars provides clues to what you value.
- What’s our giving style? Regular support? A few organizations in a big way? A lot of organizations to bless many? Big “investment-style” gifts? Anonymous? Do we want to influence others with our giving?
- What area of giving might we be called to, based upon our family’s history? For instance, is there a personal point of pain that dictates support? Is there a past history of being involved in a particular area of ministry?
A practical way to make it happen
We gathered much of The Signatry team together in Kansas City just recently, and we talked about the amazing growth of donor advised funds and generosity in our country. (Did you know that there are over 422,000 donor advised funds in the U.S.?)
I’ve seen donor advised funds serve as a particularly great tool to provide a “place” for a family to gather around to discuss giving. If all of our giving is just driven by the checkbook, we can easily miss the great potential in giving together as a family.
By setting aside money in a donor advised fund, we can similarly set aside time for the discussion on giving as a family.
Choose intentionality. Create clarity and purpose for your family by working to discuss and transmit your vision, mission and values.
If you find yourself stuck, or don’t know where to start, I’d encourage you to try bringing your family together in a discussion around giving.
Photo credit: iStockphoto.com