It’s fun to see families bearing down on the idea of multi-generational success. Sometimes families approach me with a simple question: “Where do we begin?”
Often, they come to the table with past hurts and they want to start a new conversation. Or they arrive with children who have chosen varying paths—some good, some OK, and some not.
Some of these families know that they need to engage in the hard work of re-engaging and that the process will take time. It is indeed a process.
But in the context of that process, they’d like to know where to start the conversation. That’s where I query: Can you start with generosity?
Start with Generosity
I find that generosity is the great equalizer. It’s the easiest and safest place to start a conversation. Generosity helps a family begin to look outside of themselves. And looking outward they can find commonality.
Generosity doesn’t depend on years of experience, for example, in a family business. Years of experience in the business is often an unequal playing field. (Imagine talking to your father, with his 40 years of experience in the business, about your suggested changes for the business!)
In contrast, even the youngest child can come to the table moved by the need around them. A child in need. Hungry families. Someone without a home. A neighbor down the street with cancer. Those situations invite acts of generosity in which all family members can participate equally.
I encourage families to make sure they have a “place” to have generosity conversations. For many that is simply creating a donor advised fund. They can call it their family foundation, and they can name it anything they want. But by setting aside money for giving, they create that convening place to have generosity conversations. Visit The Signatry’s website to learn more about donor advised funds.
It’s a good place to start. How do you have your own generosity conversations?
Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash
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Published October 23, 2019