Family Stories, Leadership, and Family Sustainability

An article in the New York Times, by Bruce Feiler, discussed the various types of family stories and their importance to the development of children.  We all know that family wealth sustainability depends upon the human capital of the family and that at its very core human capital is dependent upon the development of self-esteem.

But our society has not always had clarity about how to best promote the development of feeling good about one’s self, about feeling competent and capable.  What we find more and more is what Mr. Feiler reports in his article – that family stories especially ones which demonstrate the ups and downs of life, of how family members managed difficult challenges and came out standing are ones which promote the resilience of the younger generation who hear them.   Resilience is important to developing the ability to risk, to meet challenges, to make mistakes and to develop leadership skills.  It is a very basic building block of self-esteem.  If one cannot take risks and be willing to make mistakes and trust that you can survive, then it is difficult to build capability and a sense of competence.

But sharing stories is also important to feeling a connection to what went before you- to a sense of continuity as well as a sense of a core belief in the family and its principles. It passes culture and defines a family sense of purpose and vision.  Further, the very act of sharing stories increases communication between the generations.  And what is more important than that?  Every family event is story making and telling the stories of those events provides a verbal history which continues to build and provide connection and growth for all who participate in their making or hearing the tales. Keep them coming-