If you look up 'legacy' in the dictionary (http://mw4.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/legacy) you will see a couple of meanings. One is – a gift by will of money or real property. Another is - something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.
If you ask your friends, family and acquaintances what family legacy means, you may get a different answer from each.
To some, it means their family genealogy and history. To others, it is a list of things that have been accomplished, or values and lessons of life that were handed down to them. Yet others may indicate that it is a set of character traits or skills; or a set of instructions or wishes for things to happen a certain way in the next generation(s). Then some will say it is Great Aunt Minnie's diamond tiara or Grandpa Joe's war diary.
In the context of keeping your family's wealth and well being intact across multiple generations, what is the meaning of family legacy? We at FamilyMoneyValues.com believe that it most closely fits with what the below quotes express:
Erik Erickson, a developmental psychologist, summed it up as - 'I am what survives of me”.
“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” Pericles (Greek statesman of Athens who died in 429 BC).
“A man cannot leave a better legacy to the world than a well-educated family.” Thomas Scott
“A tribute, published October 22, 1931, to Thomas Alva Edison upon his death: THE passing of Thomas Alva Edison serves to direct our attention to the multitude of benefactions he bestowed upon all humanity during his many years of fruitful activity. It reminds us of the debt of gratitude we owe him as members of the human race. By his achievements, he laid the foundation for continued and greater development. His persistent efforts and indefatigable spirit multiplied many times the valuable opportunities for man, especially the young man. To each and every young man, Mr. Edison left a legacy of opportunities. “ Thomas Watson (1874 – 1956 President of IBM)
In other words, family legacy means the accomplishments, beliefs, actions and guidance you demonstrate in your lives - that carry forward to future generations in a fashion which allow those family members to adopt and adapt them to make their lives meaningful and fruitful.
We believe, that in order for your future family to benefit from your legacy, you must drive towards it as a family, carrying along the past legacies of your ancestors, with focus from, and action by, the entire current family on the legacy that you want to leave to your descendents.
We suggest you find out what your family histories, cultures and stories are. Discuss within all current generations which parts of the discovered legacy are beneficial and what pieces this generation wants to add; then reach consensus on actions you can take now to build that family legacy.
Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice website: http://cecp.air.org/wraparound/family.html
Read more: Family Folklore - Functions And Values Of Folklore For Family Relationships, International Scholarship And Applications Of Family Folklore - Gender and History http://family.jrank.org/pages/530/Family-Folklore.html#ixzz0t7ujcZaG
“Parenting – Create a Family Value Culture” by Jim Taylor Ph. D as published in Psychology Today online March 9, 2010