Guest Post by Cathy Krafve
Diamonds. Golf clubs. Pearls. Chocolates. Cowboy boots.
What is the best birthday gift you ever received?
Until last fall, I would have answered my favorite gift was a pair of black lizard skin boots that my husband gave me years ago. Of course, David also gave me three fabulous kiddoes. Staying ahead of three smart, talented kids was not easy when they were growing up.
“We taught you kids to think for yourselves and then we were surprised when you didn’t agree with us,” my own mom likes to remind me with a chuckle.
With the recent passing of David’s beloved mom, we have been giving serious thought to the inheritance we want to leave our adult children. So, when I heard what Dawn is doing with starting a conversation around giving, I knew immediately what I wanted for my 55th birthday.
“Can you have that conversation with middle class people?” I asked Dawn.
She met with David and I privately and – in true Yoda-like fashion typical of Dawn – helped us tie down our personal objectives for our conversation with our kids.
How could we pass the joy of giving off to the next generation? How could we instill a work ethic in them that includes rejoicing at the privilege it is to give? How could we help them understand that giving is about taking responsibility and being effective and collaborative?
Additionally, we wanted them to know how to interact confidently together without us. What could be better than instilling in their hearts the knowledge that extended family can be the best line of defense against a world that can be cold and cruel at times? And as couples, their spouses bring invaluable perspectives to the whole family. Would our son-in-law believe he is a valued part of our family conversations?
We wanted to pass along the confidence that they are each others’ best resource for building a life filled with abundance of laughter and love.
That’s the inheritance we all want for our kids, right?
When the day finally came, Dave and I strategically turned the conversation over to Dawn. When the kids realized we were serious about trusting their desires and initiative, they grew more and more excited about what kind of giving is rewarding to them as individuals and as a team.
We were especially delighted in the way our son-in-law participated in the family conversation, allowing his input to give our family discussion a multi-faceted, healthy vigor.
As parents, the conversation exceeded our dreams; Dave and I left with a warm glow. We can’t wait to see how this first step translates into future conversations and joyful, united family giving strategies.
It was my favorite birthday gift yet.