We lead Family Legacy Workshops. It’s perhaps the most profound thing that we do.
For years, I always touted the idea of living generously. And in fact, we saw tremendous things as people experienced the generous life. We saw joy. And we saw gratitude. (Funny how those ideas are so often connected.)
But I couldn’t escape the fact that despite all of our work, the giving needle hasn’t really moved. It’s basically at the same level it’s been at since 1929! It’s been largely flat over the decades—remaining at a hair over 2% of GDP every year. I wondered why—why couldn’t the needle move more?
And then I stumbled upon a simple fact. While living generously is a matter of the heart, it seemed too often the conversation was about features and benefits.
Or, more simply, the idea of living generously was always in competition with the rational cautions people have. “Will I have enough for retirement?” “What happens if I get sick?” “What happens if the world economy crumbles?” And the list would go on—reasons to not be more generous.
But there was something different when I talked about family. Family didn’t have the same inhibitions. People know and want the warmth of family. It produces positive emotions. But at the same time, family involves the same rational side of the brain—the protective mama or papa bear. We’ll do anything to help our family.
When generosity is wrapped up in the idea of helping your family live out the family values, the discussion gets easier. We have a reason to be generous—because generosity is good, and it helps advance the cause of our family.
Put differently, when we talk about family legacy, we have far more people who want to come to the table than if we just talk about generosity.
It’s part of the lessons we are learning. The generous family sticks together.
Photo by Luemen Rutkowski on Unsplash
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Published August 13, 2021
Topics: Family Legacy