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Couples Beware: Empty-Nest Syndrome Can Be a Hard Hit
Couples eagerly awaiting the day when the kids move out and they can be a happy couple again might be in for a surprise: data suggest this can be a difficult time for couples. Elizabeth Bernstein joins Lunch Break with Lise and Emil Stoessel, who have their own experience to share.
Andrew Solomon: Love, no matter what
What is it like to raise a child who’s different from you in some fundamental way (like a prodigy, or a differently abled kid, or a criminal)? In this quietly moving talk, writer Andrew Solomon shares what he learned from talking to dozens of parents — asking them: What’s the line between unconditional love and unconditional acceptance?
Andrew Solomon is a writer on politics, culture and psychology.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM?
Andrew Solomon’s newest book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children, but also find profound meaning in doing so. Solomon’s startling proposition is that diversity is what unites us. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, as are the struggles toward compassion and the triumphs of love Solomon documents in every chapter. Woven into these courageous and affirming stories is Solomon’s journey to accepting his own identity, which culminated in his midlife decision, influenced by this research, to become a parent.
Solomon’s last book, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, won the 2001 National Book Award for Nonfiction, was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize, and won fourteen other national awards.
What’s the price tag on raising a child
This is an inspirational story of two small children that demonstrates how caring about someone else helps us overcome our fears. Leaders that care make decisions for the right reasons, though not always the easiest thing to do.
“Beauty is all about us, but how many are blind to it? They take a look at the wonder of this earth – and seem to see nothing. Each second, we live in a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that never was before and will never be again. And what do we teach our children in school? We teach them that two and two makes four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel! You are unique. In all the world there is no other child exactly like you. In the millions of years that have passed there has never been another child like you. And look at your body – what a wonder it is! Your legs, your arms, your cunning fingers, the way you move! You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must cherish one another. You must work – we all must work – to make this world worthy of its children.” Pablo Casals
“Two men look through the same bars; one sees mud and one sees stars.” Frederick Langbridge
“Man is not made by his circumstances, he is revealed by them.” James Allen
“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” William Jennings Bryan
“While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.” Henry C. Link
“People are always blaming their circumstances for being what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.” George Bernard Shaw
“Men are born to succeed, not to fail.” Henry David Thoreau
“Success is ninety-nine percent failure.” Soichiro Honda
“The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes.” Marcel Proust
If you plan to give your children anything for free, give them an understanding of stewardship. It’s the opposite of the silver spoon syndrome, the opposite of having a “sense of entitlement” and it is the best way to ensure your kids are empowered by your wealth and not disabled by it.
The issue that many of our clients face is that they are the pioneers, they are the leaders and their children are the followers. They are what author Jim Grubman calls “immigrants to the land of wealth,” whereas their children are “citizens.” Because of this, it can be difficult to instill in them the same sense of care and responsibility in dealing with your family’s wealth because they weren’t the ones that created it. It’s important for parents to know, understand and accept this.
Fortunately though, there is still a lot that can be done. Stewardship needs to be taught by example because kids are often self-oriented when they are young. It’s a process that takes time. It is long term, cumulative and it compounds—just like your wealth.
Here are some suggestions for you and your family:
- Use philanthropy as a teaching exercise. Get your children involved in your cause and work through it together, every step of the way.
- Consider a “family bank” concept. Work together as a family to help your kids understand that it is the “family’s capital” and not something for them to exhaust and waste.
- Family meetings can be a great way to help create an environment of transparency and stewardship. Helping them feel like they are truly “part of the family” and part of managing the family’s wealth can go a long way.
- Another great option to consider is allowing your kids to become the Trustee of their own Trust. It helps them to understand that the family’s wealth is for the benefit of the beneficiaries, which could ultimately be their own kids or grandkids.
With wealth comes responsibility, especially if you want it to mean something to your children. A commitment to ensuring your wealth doesn’t negatively impact your kids, and taking the steps to educate them, will go a long way in helping them develop a sense of responsibility and not end up choking on a silver spoon.