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Giving Wisely

March 18, 2020

Family Values: Deepening Connections

Family Values help define what is meaningful. They provide a moral compass; they help identify the non-negotiable aspects of our lives. On a trip to India at the start of the new year, I decided to take CFT’s Identifying Values and Defining Passions cards with the hope of doing these meaningful exercises with my family.

As we welcomed a new decade, my family gathered to identify our personal values. We were a multi-generational group of ten ranging from 13-81 years in age. We started by laying the Defining Passions cards on the floor. The cards, which depicted people of color, different faith groups, and diverse ethnic backgrounds, offered an experience my family could relate to.

I encouraged everyone to pick out images they could identify with, representing memories, stories, and passions. After everyone selected their top values, I wondered how the dialogue would progress. What would each family member be willing to share?

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One by one, we shared stories of letting go of inhibitions, of travel, of people’s influence on our lives, and of unforgettable experiences. We said things to each other we’ve never said before. What fascinated me was how the simple nature of the cards had the ability to cultivate effective storytelling and trigger deeper conversations among us. We learned new things about each other, and that helped us become even closer.

"This values-based exercise will be etched in the memory forever", said my brother-in-law.

We then completed CFT’s Identifying Values words-based exercise. Each card listed different values, such as loyalty, legacy, and tradition. I asked my family to pick out three to five values that resonated with them the most. We spent over three hours discussing the values we individually identified with and why. We learned that we shared a number of values, such as community, compassion, and responsibility. I am now looking forward to continuing these conversations and deepening the connection of our values with our individual and collective philanthropy.

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