At some point in life everyone has to choose a bank — a safe, trusted repository to store financial resources for personal and business savings and day-to-day use. One might choose a national bank, a regional institution or a credit union — depending on specifics such as fees, convenience and available services. For many, working with a bank is as common as going to the grocery store.
But what about a repository for even more valuable resources? For a different kind of cash, spelled “KASH” — Knowledge, Attitudes, Skills and Habits — these are resources valuable to you and members of your family and are put into what I call a “Legacy Bank.”
The concept of creating a Legacy Bank is simple. Think about how you could preserve and protect those aspects in life that are worth recording — then pass them along to your family and future generations. Your Legacy Bank should have:
· Knowledge you’ve gained through your life experiences — as well as your education and professional pursuits — which should be viewed as a great value to your family and posterity.
· Attitudes you’ve developed throughout your life — including religious beliefs, personal mission statements, work ethics and your attitude toward all the relationships that make life so full and rich.
· Skills and unique abilities — including your sound financial capabilities, your business-building acumen or your other talents including sports abilities, the arts or areas of health and wellness that you’ve mastered.
· Habits you have established — perhaps the habit of rising early in order to have time for meditation or prayer, or developing the habit of reading books that add to your knowledge and skills. It could even be the habits that lead to the traditions that bring your family together.
So what are the mechanics of building and maintaining your family’s Legacy Bank? They’re simple. On paper or electronically, capture these insights, lessons and patterns so that your family — and even future generations — can reflect on them whenever needed.
Our family’s Legacy Bank has specific tools and activities we’ve developed and honed over the years, like the Better Life Circle (for learning from past setbacks or errors), Unacceptable Detours and Dead Ends (for avoiding major life pitfalls) and more.
Another highly engaging, popular tool is the “I Remember When” story collection. It’s worth every minute of yours and your family’s time to compile a written collection of stories about your family in whatever way works best — whether an online repository, a physical binder, an audio recording or any other format.
Collecting these stories harnesses the power of storytelling to bring people closer, to reinforce key values and sometimes to laugh together at our own silly or outrageous moments. One story I’ve shared continues to resonate and teach key lessons to my family.
When I was 16 years old, I landed a job working at one of the country’s first KFC restaurants. I was thrilled for the opportunity and worked hard, eventually being promoted to assistant manager. One night, some of the cooks convinced me to go down to a new highway overpass and toss eggs at the cars passing below.
I knew it was wrong and potentially dangerous, but I wanted to be cool with my friends, so I agreed. As far as I know, we didn’t hit any cars directly, but we did see some brake lights as drivers reacted to the flying egg missiles.
After I returned home, my mother (whose parental intuition was second to none), asked where I had been. Because I’d already learned that lying would only make it worse, I admitted to my parents that I had been tossing eggs at cars.
My father reacted by directing me to his car and letting me know that we were going to the city police department where I would own up to my transgression.
The sergeant on duty turned out to be the very police officer who had responded to a burglary at my KFC store location months earlier. The incident had been determined to be an inside job. I had closed the restaurant the night before, but the police officer took a moment to tell me that the owner trusted me.
Prompted by my father, I told the sergeant about my friends and our egg-tossing caper — and he was most relieved to find that I hadn’t come to confess an involvement in the earlier burglary!
Valuable lessons abounded from this experience. One important and long-lasting one was realizing that my father loved me enough to make me do the right thing even though it was as hard for him as it was for me. I also received life lessons about honesty and accountability and how to weather an embarrassing situation.
That’s just one example of an important set of lessons that can be passed along to your family, and to your posterity, by preserving a collection of “I Remember When” stories.
It’s not too late to make goals for this year. You may already have a goal related to money and the use of your financial bank. Add to that a commitment to preserve and protect the other aspects of your life. A great place to start is by collecting, storing and eventually sharing your family’s knowledge, attitudes, skills and habits (KASH). Lead out so your family and future generations can build on what you’ve deposited in your Legacy Bank.
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Originally published at medium.com