Leaving a Legacy: Family Culture

What legacy do you want to leave?

Organizations and businesses have a unique culture.  They invest time in creating mission and vision statements and defining core values.  Yet, for all the effort we pour into these initiatives, we seldom do the same for our family.

What is the legacy you want to create for your family?  What values are you passing to your children?  What generational strongholds could be eliminated with awareness and hard work?

I recently took a risk to begin conversations in my home about what our family stands for, what words the kids would use to describe our family culture (both the beautiful and hard things), and what principles do we currently use to guide our decisions.  What they shared blessed me, surprised me, and also humbled me greatly as there are many areas of growth that emerged for us to tackle.   

The questions below are a great place to start.  Take a deep breath and engage with your family on these deep dive questions.  It takes courage to dig in and interrogate reality, but the blessings will come with honest and loving discussions.  

  1. What behaviors are rewarded or punished?

  2. Where and how are people actually spending their resources (time, money, attention)?

  3. What rules and expectations are followed?

  4. What rules and expectations are ignored?

  5. Do people feel safe and supported talking about how they feel and what they need?

  6. What stories are legend and what values do they convey?

  7. What happens when someone fails, disappoints, or makes a mistake?

  8. How is vulnerability perceived?

  9. How prevalent are shame and blame and how are they showing up?

  10. What is the collective tolerance for discomfort?  Is the discomfort of learning and trying new things, and giving and receiving feedback normalized, or is there a high premium put on comfort and how does that look?

Questions based on reading from Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.