November is National Family Stories Month. With the holidays right around the corner, families and loved ones will be gathering together enjoying fun, food, and festivities. Past memories will be shared and new ones will be made. These are special times of priceless conversations. They can also be powerful opportunities.

Be Intentional

What makes these opportunities so powerful? Togetherness! This might be the only time to hear the stories from grandma and grandpa, recall the family history and heritage, or have that all-important family meeting. Since you know how difficult it is to get everyone in the same place at the same time, it is essential to be intentional about your use of this precious time. A little advance planning and these ideas will help make it meaningful and memorable.

Promote your idea in advance

I realize it’s hard to rally everyone together when the kids are on their phones and computer games and the fans are fixed on the football game, so warn them ahead of time. When you do your inviting, ask family members to think about the topic you’d like them to share so they’ll be prepared in advance.

Pick a topic for your family conversation

family talking

Maybe add a challenge like: you can’t have your pie until you share. Some ideas for story sharing might include:

  • When mom and dad or grandma and grandpa were kids
  • First jobs and what life lessons were learned
  • The funniest thing that ever happened
  • A recounting of faith journeys
  • Past family traditions and celebrations
  • A recollection of a visit to grandma and grandpa’s house

Encourage active listening

Good conversations start with good listening. Lay the ground rules:

  • Make eye contact
  • Avoid distractions—turn the TV off
  • Don’t interrupt the speaker
  • Listen completely rather than thinking about what you are going to say (the importance of preparing them ahead of time).

Make a record

Turn on the tape recorder or video camera or phone and record the stories as a permanent record. You’ll treasure these in the future!

Make it fun

Hopefully, it will become a family tradition they will be looking forward to year after year.

Money Matters

While the family is gathered is also a good time to consider setting up a family meeting focused on the family finances. You’ve heard the sad statistics about the family wealth failing to pass on to future generations. What you may not realize is that a major reason for that is lack of communication. With careful forethought, proper planning, and wise counsel from your financial advisor, this doesn’t have to be a dreaded topic, but one that can be embraced as you discuss it in the framework of family legacy.

I’d be happy to help you flesh out any of these ideas for your family gathering. Call me, I’d love to help you build memories that last a lifetime. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

“We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.” Psalm 78:4 NLT

Important Disclosures: The information provided here is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s financial questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual financial concerns. Your receipt of information from this material does not create a client relationship and the financial privileges inherent therein. If you have a financial question, you should consult an experienced financial advisor. Moreover, the hiring of a financial advisor is an important decision that should not be based solely upon blogs, articles, or advertisements. Before you hire a financial advisor, you should request information about the financial advisor’s qualifications and experiences. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. All expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice in reaction to shifting market conditions. Data contained herein from third party providers is obtained from what are considered reliable sources. However, its accuracy, completeness or reliability cannot be guaranteed. Examples provided are for illustrative (or “informational”) purposes only and not intended to be reflective of results you can expect to achieve. Judy Hulsey (“Judy”) works with Allgen Financial Advisors, Inc. (“Allgen”), which is an investment advisor registered with the SEC. Neither Judy nor Allgen provide personal financial advice via this material. The purpose of this material is limited to the dissemination of general information regarding the services offered by Judy and Allgen. It is not intended to be a solicitation or offer to sell investment advisory services to residents of any state in which Allgen is not currently authorized to do so. The Disclosure Brochure, Form ADV Part II, which details the business practices, services offered, and related fees of Allgen, is available upon request.