“If you think you’re enlightened, spend a weekend with your family.” – Ram Dass
Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed a restful holiday season.
I’ll admit: I have, what I like to call, a bit of a family hangover. It’s not been an easy week.
I’ve been in Florida this past week, where I stood by in service to my 95-year old uncle as he grieved the loss of his wife, my beloved aunt Joan. She was also in her 90s, and her final days were difficult. In the days following her death, I helped with the arrangements for my aunt, as well as moving my uncle to a smaller, more financially feasible room at his assisted living facility. Many changes to process all at once.
This experience got me thinking about my family philanthropy and family office clients, and how well people are planning for death and transitions.
For people in their 90s, death doesn’t seem like such a far-fetched idea. However I’ve heard many stories of family leaders—even those up in age—who refuse to talk about their own death, or the pending death of loved ones. Some aren’t willing to let go and are determined to remain in control. Others may be more in denial, or simply scared (or too stubborn) to consider what life will be like when they’re gone.
This fear (or denial, or stubbornness, or insert-your-own-word-here) creates an obstacle for the family as a whole. A family can’t move forward on succession planning if members can’t engage in open conversations about the future. This can lead to a loss of leadership potential, as well as a loss for the family legacy.
Whether your family is facing these family dynamics or others, know that help is out there. Consider an outside facilitator like Hammer & Associates that can help your family navigate unproductive dynamics in a skillful way. Until then, here are some resources that can help:
Or download our no-cost EngagedPhilanthropy™ toolkits to learn more about family dynamics and more:
- Global Philanthropy: A Family Office Guide to International Giving
- Making the Most of Family Dynamics: A Family Office Guide to Meaningful Giving
- Balancing Passion and Strategy: A Family Office Guide to Meaningful Giving
- Laying the Groundwork: A Family Office Guide to Meaningful Giving
Reach out anytime for support. I’m at Suzanne@SuzanneHammer.com or 303.319.3029.
Until next time, here’s to a peaceful and prosperous 2018.