Last month, I had the honor of being in a study group with some of the most amazing people in our industry. I was introduced to a New York Times article written by Bruce Feiler—The Stories that Bind Us1—about helping your children become resilient, successful, and happy. I would highly recommend reading it in its entirety, but its basic concept is simple: develop a strong family narrative.
Jim Collins wrote the book, Good to Great, which was about taking organizations from well, good to great. One of the primary ideas set forth is to establish and preach the culture of the organization so that each member or employee can cling to this in both good times and bad. Collins said a family is no different.
We all get lost or down at times, but there are two types of people in this world. Those that pick themselves back up, dust themselves off and move on. And these are the people that are better because of those lost moments. Then there are people that fall down and never get back up. They become consumed by their failures and lack of fortune.
The key to helping your family members to thrive is to build a foundation within each of them to stand on. The New York Times’ article talks about helping them truly understand where they came from. Tell them the horror stories their family members have faced themselves and how they got out of these valleys of darkness, as well as the stories its beginnings. Create a Family Mission Statement
Another one of my favorite authors, Stephen Covey, is also an advocate for the Family Mission Statement. He has the perfect definition of what one should be:
A family mission statement is a combined, unified expression from all family members of what your family is all about — what it is you really want to do and be — and the principles you choose to govern your family life.
It is no secret that we work with family members in their estate planning and legacy planning. Nine out of every ten families we meet with worry about their children inheriting money. The funny thing is if I were to ask you what is the most important thing you desire to pass to your children: values or money? I bet the answer would seldom be money. The truth is that they go hand in hand. You have to have a way to pass on your values if you want your children to be successful. Whether this is through a Family Mission Statement, family counseling, family planning, or family retreats; focus on the thing you desire most first, and the rest will fall into place.
- How to Create a Family Mission Statement
- Creating a Positive Family Culture: How and Why to Create a Family Mission Statement
- Writing a Family Mission Statement
- Create a Family Purpose Statement
- Examples of Family Mission Statements
- Printable Family Mission Statement