The Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song title from 1970 proves to be prescient in its words and meaning, “Teach your Children”. Researchers at Emory University have found “Children who know stories about relatives who came before them show higher levels of emotional well-being.” That is to say, sitting around the kitchen table recounting stories of where you grew up, how you met your spouse, what your grandfather was like and who your best friend in kindergarten was are all extremely important for the development of healthy children.
While we may think we’re boring our children undertaking these reminiscences, we’re actually helping create the foundation of emotional well-being and stability. “Family stories provide a sense of identity through time, and help children understand who they are in the world,” according to the researchers.
For advisors, this is a tremendous opportunity to encourage families and for you to help them pull their history and background from the recesses of their memories. Not only will you understand them better and be able to advise them better but you will allow them to transfer this to their children and grandchildren.
My colleague, family biographer, Stacy Derby, founder of Bind These Words, initially shared this with me and it validates so much of what seemed intuitive to me about family and history. Now there is proof. What are we waiting for? Teach your children!
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