"It's not who am I? – it's what am I an expression of?"
Adding Fruit and Foliage to the Family Tree.
Siblings reflect the mission (good and bad) of their parents. Multiple generations make the family story easier to see. And the more an individual gains a sense of clarity about their family, the clearer they can become about the choices they make about which flames they pass along, which they protect against, and which they extinguish in their own lives.
What level of overlap do you think exists between you and your siblings in terms of core values? What about among cousins? Between grandparents and grandchildren?
What is your family's role and value in the world? Does that role or value extend between generations, or does it start from scratch with each person?
What impact does/will your grandfather's remarkable integrity, or colossal shortcomings, have on your grandchildren?
For as focused as people tend to be on their own lives, and on the future, there's no denying that we're all hugely impacted by the choices of multiple previous generations, and we're also each a response to those choices, sounding out a path as we go.
There are a thousand ways to shackle and warp people by overplaying the "duty to family" idea. But there are a million ways in which mystery and silence about family history, beliefs, biases, and wounds can bend families into the fire. The alternative is to simply add matters of fact and history to the story, and make choices from there.
This extended survey package is not about family counseling. It's about data, stories, and perspective. It's almost completely digital, parsed out in waves, with feedback in between, to keep the hassle-to-payoff ratio as compelling as possible, even to the least interested members of the extended family.
COMMON SUrvey PACKAGE DETAILS
- Principal interviews
- Family surveys
- Feedback and discussion rounds
- Printed reports
- Original illustrated children's book
- Commissioned art
- Family gifts
- Advice books
- Honoring event / experience
- 6-18 month total engagement time
Please think of this as an abbreviated list of variations from which we can build the engagement.
Business management guru Peter Drucker once commented "whatever gets measured gets managed." While the management process can look a great deal different in a family than it does in a corporation, the adage holds true here as well.
What if, across your extended family, you could survey views on critical topics? Topics like faith, education, finances, philanthropy, social or environmental responsibility, relationships, parenting styles. What conversations and choices might the family make based on what they uncovered? How may one family line differ from the other, but still see itself as a complementary expression of the family name?
What if you could compare your family findings to sources like the World Values Survey and decide together how you would choose something different for your own family? And then teach and train to those points?
What if you chose a different topic every year, cycling back through the same topic maybe five years later, and created subset surveys and family reports to see gauge the trajectory of your family's beliefs, as well as what sorts of results those postures produced for the people in your family?
What if you'd had 50 years of that sort of intentionality, training, and history informing your choices when you were 18 or 30 years old? What if you had 200 years of it?
What if your children's children did?