7 Things I’m Learning About Family Legacy
When I left the law firm 17 years ago, I could not have imagined the twists and turns I’d take when I helped start the National Christian Foundation office in Kansas City. For sure, I knew that I’d be engaged in helping people live generous lives. But I could not have foreseen how much that would involve the family dynamics.
I’ve had the unique opportunity to dig deep with families and help them delve into the idea of family. Here are seven observations:
- The greatest family legacies are built upon a foundation of values—a set of beliefs—that transcend the family. They live for a cause greater than themselves.
- It is difficult, if not impossible, to build an enduring family legacy without a spiritual component.
- The great families are a mixture of challenge—they push each other to make each other better—and compassion—they have a deep and abiding care for one another.
- They look back. They continue to revisit and tell the stories that got them where they are. The good stories and the painful ones deserve equal footing. (Here are some ideas for uncovering family stories.)
- The greatest wealth is never in money. It’s about individual family members achieving their God-given potential and still remaining connected to the large family dynamic.
- Generosity is an essential mark. They are grateful for the blessings they have received and in turn want to make the lives of others better as well. And they talk about being generous as a family. It becomes a training ground for teaching values.
- Fellowship is part of their DNA. They come together at regular intervals to celebrate the activity of God in their family and to celebrate one another.