What do you want your family’s legacy to be?
If you struggle to answer that question, consider this one: What do you want to pass on to your children when you yourself pass on?
You might think of gifting your children an inheritance of money to provide financial support. Or perhaps, you picture an heirloom, an artifact that has been in the family for generations. Maybe you’re thinking more sentimentally of family traditions that you’ve honored together at countless Christmases or Easters. You might even be thinking of what could have an impact beyond your immediate family: your faith and values.
The obstacle many face
We know that many families that were Catholic for years are now mixed-faith families. Research shows that half of young Americans who were raised Catholic no longer identify as such. Maybe your family has experienced this statistic personally.
But just because your children or grandchildren don’t share your faith now doesn’t mean that they won’t always. And it doesn’t mean that your values can’t still be passed on.
How to talk about your faith and values
Having a conversation about your faith and values doesn’t have to be a big deal. It doesn’t have to be tense or contentious. Start at the dinner table by asking your children how they would like your family to be remembered — kind, compassionate, intelligent, ambitious, generous, fun-loving? What traits and values drive their every-day decisions? If they had $1,000,000 to give away, what organizations would they support? Who do they admire for their generosity and why?
As you listen to their answers, you’ll likely find similarities and common ground. Even if your child’s path has strayed from the Church, your faith — and your shared experiences — has likely left an imprint.
Practice what you preach
A beautiful way that you can express your faith and values as a family is through generosity. Once you’ve identified as a family how you’d like to be remembered, what charities you love, and whom you hope to honor, put your money where your heart is! By giving together, you’ll not only make a difference for your selected nonprofits, you’ll make a lasting impression on your children too. This practice will quickly establish generosity as a family value and a key piece of your family’s legacy.