In The Old Money Book, I detail Core Values that contribute to not just a standard of living, but to a quality of life. One of these Core Values is family, and it may be the most important.
It can be a tremendous challenge to make your way in this world without the support, at least initially, of family, or an individual or group who acts like family. The immediate, primitive, life-affirming emotions of being loved, of being safe, of being welcome as an infant affect us throughout life. The relationships we build and the relationships we see growing up are key factors in our development.
If you didn’t get these, or didn’t get them consistently as a child, you may have your work cut out for you as you date, make commitments, marry and start a family. The important thing is to be aware of what you didn’t get as a child and make sure your spouse or children get it. The second important thing is to remember what you did get as a child and make sure your spouse or children get that, too.
As children, a common mistake that we make is thinking that we’re the first person in the history of the world to have not had a perfect family life as a child. History books are full of men and women who were born into less than desirable circumstances and not only prevailed, but excelled and changed the world. When we read and learn about others who’ve faced obstacles, we gain perspective and our problems become manageable.
One thing we learn is that these achievers didn’t spend the rest of their lives blaming their parents for things they did or didn’t do. If you’re over the age of 23, you’ve reached your expiration date on blaming others. Stop whining. Move on.
There are resources out there. Many great books have been written about how to address and overcome whatever personal issues you may face. There are books and classes about how to improve yourself. You studied, practiced, and took a test to be able to drive a car legally. Is it too much to ask if you do the same as you look at becoming a better person, a spouse, or, perish the thought, a parent?
One simple technique that works consistently is to set a tangible, worthwhile goal, define steps to achieve it, and get to work on it. You’ll find that many of the personal issues you had while you were contemplating your navel and feeling sorry for yourself will dissolve into the mist of memory and you’ll be happier, healthier, and more fulfilled. Only then can you be a worthwhile part of a family, whether it’s one you were born into or one you create.
If you didn’t have a great family life, make a great family life. If you were born into a cycle of dysfunctional, counterproductive behavior, break it, and then replace it with a better cycle. If you had a great childhood, bless those that gave it to you and honor them by repeating it and building upon it.
Take the Core Values of Family and apply them to your life. Start now. It’s Old Money, but it’s a new day.