What do you want your family’s legacy to be?
If you struggle to answer that question, consider this one: What do you hope to pass on to your children when you yourself pass on?
You might think of gifting your children a monetary inheritance to provide financial support. Or perhaps you picture an heirloom that has been in the family for generations. Maybe you’re thinking of family traditions 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 challenge many face
A great number of families that were Catholic for years are now mixed-faith families. Research shows half of young Americans once raised Catholic no longer identify as such. Your family may have experienced this statistic personally.
But if your children or grandchildren might not share your faith now it doesn’t mean they won’t always. Your values can still be passed on.
How to talk about what matters most
Having a conversation about your faith and values doesn’t have to be a big deal. It can start sitting around the living room or at the dining room table. Ask your children how they would like your family to be remembered — kind, compassionate, intelligent, ambitious, generous, fun-loving? What traits and values drive their everyday decisions? If they had $1,000,000 to give away, what organizations would they support? Who do they admire for their generosity and why? What do they want the family’s future to look like?
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 the examples you’ve set — and your shared experiences — have likely left an imprint.
Practice what you preach
A beautiful way you can express your faith, values, and shared interests as a family is through generosity. Once you’ve identified 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 in the lives of others through your selected nonprofits, but you’ll make a lasting impression on your children too. Their priorities can grow alongside yours, including everyone in the joy of giving. This practice will help establish generosity as a family value and become a meaningful part of your family’s legacy.