Does your entire extended family typically gather for Thanksgiving dinner? It is not only a historical tradition, it is sort of a litmus test or metaphor for family unity.
In a normal non-COVID time, who would you invite? Who would attend? Distrust or disagreements between parents and children and between siblings show up in the form of non-invites and non-attendance for these annual family gatherings.
Many times this disunity is the result of a number of basic “Who” issues. Who said …? Who didn’t say ….? Who was told …? Who wasn’t told …? Who forgot …? Who did …? Who didn’t do …? Who got …? Who gets …? Who doesn’t get? Who does …? Who doesn’t do …? Etc.
These issues could relate to small personal interfamily squabbles or they could relate to more significant issues such as the family business succession plan or the family estate plan. Even the smallest of these issues, unaddressed, could grow and cause the family to drift apart over time.
Growing up, our extended family met every Thanksgiving at my Uncle Bob’s home. Memories of playing pool in his basement with cousins, over-eating my aunt’s homemade chocolate fudge, and watching the Lions and Cowboys games are etched in my mind. More impactful are the memories of my Grandmother. She was a saintly woman. While she was soft spoken and very loving, she had a quiet strength that was recognized and respected by all. She had an incredible way of addressing all the “Who” issues that inevitably arose between siblings - keeping the family together and supporting each other. It was clearly understood that, behind her faith, family was the most important thing in her life and she was committed to keeping it intact and solid.
As this year’s Thanksgiving Day approaches, it’s a great opportunity for celebration, reflection, commitment and action focused on your family.
- It’s an opportunity to reflect on those who came before us, celebrate their lives and legacy and give thanks for the specific ways they impacted your lives and the actions they took to support and strength the family as individuals and as a cohesive unit.
- It’s an opportunity to reflect on current and future members of your family and what can be done to support their individual missions.
- It’s an opportunity to identify any current or potential “Who” issues, big or small, that are pushing the family apart and seek to model the quiet strength of my Grandmother of the importance of family and the willingness to dive into the fray to address the individual issues as they arose. It’s not easy work, but the legacy of your family may depend on it.
- Ultimately, it’s a time to reflect on the importance of family in your lives and what type of commitment you are willing to make and what individual actions you are willing to take to support and strengthen your family and your family members.
Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and best wishes for keeping the tradition alive and the family thriving in 2021 and beyond.
At Telemus, the foundation of our organization is based on a holistic approach to financial life management. We have the experience and resources to assist you in developing, implementing and supporting appropriate strategies and plans for you and your family.
Let us help. Let’s start the discussion.