June 30, 2019
Syverson Strege is committed to caring about clients’ financial success. But we also listen, ask questions, and care about their values and ultimate purpose in life. One of the most important questions we hear from clients is, “How do I pass values on to my family?”
I’ve given this question some serious thought. Here are three ideas to consider.
1. Identify and clarify what your own values are.
For most of us, values tend to be more about feeling than words. Therefore, as you clearly name your values, it’s important to identify what the words mean for your life.
2. Write down your most important values and what they mean to you.
Once you have written your values down, you will find it much easier to discuss them with your family when the opportunity arises
3. Connect your values to your decisions and how you live your life.
Look for the ways in which to integrate and model your values into your daily life. Doing so provides the opportunity to demonstrate your values with your choices and actions. When the younger generation sees you model your choices, you have an opportunity to name your value that led to that decision. For instance, “I’m busy at work, and I’m tired; but I made a commitment to help on this school committee. I need to fulfill my responsibility.”
What are the outcomes for this approach to passing on values? Most importantly, avoid telling the younger generation what their values should be. “Telling” is a poor way of influencing anyone who has a mind of his/her own, especially our family. Young people learn from experiences, observation, and eventually conversations. When they see your actions, and a conversation follows, you have the go-ahead to discuss the values behind your decisions; you have found fertile ground to plant the seeds of your values.
Passing along your values is an important and complex topic. While we can’t predict what works best for your unique family situation, I hope these ideas help guide you in the right direction.