It’s been said that our larger wealth goes beyond money and property. It’s our wisdom, acquired through lessons learned from parents and teachers, from foolish mistakes of youth, and from the insights that come from making better decisions as we get older. It’s the wealth born from our heritage, and the legacy we choose to pass on to those who come after us.
Too often, our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, pass without attending to this wealth, so the wisdom they accrued throughout their lifetime is lost forever. But there are ways to ensure this doesn’t happen to you or to someone you care about.
Here are some examples of what others have done to ensure that their elder’s “larger wealth” is passed down for future generations:
Record a Conversation
Michael prepared a list of open ended questions that he believed would inspire deep conversations and trigger long-hidden memories between himself and his parents. Armed with a portable audio recorder and his “conversation starters” he recorded, over a period of several months, stories and recollections from his parents. They spoke of mistakes made, wisdom gained, perspectives on money and success, life’s funniest and strangest moments, love and happiness, their core beliefs and values, and finally a personal message for each child and grandchild.
Create a Video
Julie, a non-stop, busy mother of four, wanted to leave her children a video of advice and stories passed down from past generations. The video became a cherished family heirloom and inspired her children to begin video taping their own experiences with the intention of passing them on to their children at the appropriate times.
Collect Favorite Family Recipes
Betsy, master of her own kitchen, created hand-crafted cookbooks in 3-ring binders for her daughters. Tabs were made to separate her own recipes, her mother’s recipes, and those attributed to her grandmother. A 4th tab was followed by lined blank papers with an invitation for them to record their favorites for their own children.
Family Medical Genogram
When Mark’s sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, he questioned his mother about their family medical history. He knew his grandfather has suffered from glaucoma, as well as an aunt and uncle. He drew a genogram to create a useful picture of who had debilitating medical problems in their senior years, and who died of what. This information was passed to his siblings who added to the genogram. Mark then drew a family health tree and presented each family member with a copy. This helped Mark’s female family members commit to annual mammograms, males to annual prostate exams, and everyone to glaucoma testing.
The links provided are random discoveries. A simple web search using any of the paragraph titles will return a myriad of results to inspire you. Happy searching. Life is short. Begin today.