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Generational Wisdom in 32 Questions

Ali Katz


What can we learn from earlier generations? Quite a bit, says Brendon Burchard, but only if we ask the right questions.

Brendon Burchard, famed personal development trainer and author of The Motivation Manifesto (Carlsbad, Hay House, 2014) says asking your mother, father and/or another loved one these 32 important questions can teach you valuable lessons about love, life, and what matters most. Burchard suggests recording the conversation so the lessons and messages can be passed down easily to your children and grandchildren. Use these questions as a springboard and see what you didn’t know about your elder loved ones:

  1. What comes to mind when you think about growing up in your hometown?
  2. What did you love to do as a kid, before high school?
  3. What did you love to do in high school?
  4. What do remember most about your teenage years?
  5. What do you remember most about your mom (grandma)?
  6. What was most important to her?
  7. What do you remember most about your dad (grandpa)?
  8. What was most important to him?
  9. If Grandma and Grandpa had a message to pass along to the grandchildren, what would it be?
  10. How did you meet your spouse? How did you know (s)he was the one?
  11. How did you choose your career? What was your favorite part about it?
  12. What made you successful?
  13. What did you believe about yourself that helped you become successful and deal with hard times?
  14. What times in your life truly “tested your mettle,” and what did you learn about yourself by dealing (or not dealing) with them?
  15. What three events most shaped your life?
  16. What do you remember about when I was born?
  17. Were you ever scared to be a parent?
  18. What three words would you say represented your approach to parenting and why?
  19. When you think about [sibling] how would you describe him/her?
  20. What message do you have for [sibling] that you want him/her to always keep in mind?

[Do the last two questions above for each sibling in your family]

  1. When you think about [spouse], how would you describe her/him?
  2. What message do you have for [spouse] that you want her/him to always keep in mind?
  3. What three words would you say best describe who you tried to be in life? How would you like to be remembered?
  4. What do you think your children and grandchildren should  focus on professionally?
  5. What have you learned about people in life?
  6. What do you think the world needs more of right now?
  7. What do you believe people want the most in life?
  8. What were the three best decisions you ever made?
  9. What are you most proud of?
  10. What were five of the most memorable moments of your life?
  11. What message would you like to share with your family?
  12. What are you most thankful for?

These questions can reveal a wealth of valuable life lessons - family treasures to share with generations to come. But having this conversation is just a start. To preserve and protect your family assets and other things of value, you should create a comprehensive estate plan that will safeguard what you value most. And, we include a recorded Family Wealth Legacy Interview, which becomes a priceless family legacy piece for your loved ones, with every estate plan we create.

If you need guidance in planning for your future, start by coming in to meet with a Personal Family Lawyer®  for a Family Wealth Planning Session. A  Personal Family Lawyer®, can guide you in creating a comprehensive estate plan that protects and preserves your most valuable assets. Before the session, they’ll send you a Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment to complete that will get you thinking about what you own, what matters most to you, and what you want to leave behind.