At the Alchemia Group we are helping our clients think & act differently in regards to their wealth and its impact on thier family - because we know it is more than just numbers and plans, it's the Balance of Art & Science with Pragmatism and Vision.
As part of my year long look at Family Rituals I spoke to my colleague James E. (Jay) Hughes. He described a ritual that has been followed by his family since 1942:
I believe I have mentioned to you in the past that my family’s ritual is the entry into a book of the births, deaths, marriages and divorces of our family. The entries are made in the presence of the entire family during one of its gatherings. Our ritual asks each new family member to come forward and be recognized and welcomed and then I enter his or her name in the book—babies are presented by their parents. We have found over the years that new married ins are deeply touched by this process. In the years since we began this process with my birth in 1942 there are only three handwritings, my grandfather’s, my father’s, mine. Eventually my oldest daughter, Ellen, who is the eldest of her generation, will make the entries. Hopefully her daughter, Margaret, will someday do the entries as the eldest in her generation.
This is very reminiscent of the recording of such events in the family bible. Jay also alludes to another important family ritual…the Gathering. Given the geographic dispersion of families today holding a Gathering can be very difficult. The families I know that make a practice of at least a long weekend together have found the effort to yield wonderful results.
The Book of Family can also be done ‘in the cloud’ where comments and additions can be made by all interested family members. This brings additional voices to the creation of a family record.
If you are interested in creating something like this for your own family please let me know.