The Day “Will” Come
There will be a day when my attorney, Laura Stover, gathers my heirs for a very important meeting. In this meeting, Laura will share with them mine and my wife, Maryann’s, last will and testament. Hopefully, Maryann and I will have lived it up so much in our retirement that there won’t be much left to divide up. However, we have made it very clear to our 17-year-old son, Ryan, that, for us to leave him anything of value after we’re gone, he must demonstrate 3 crucial values to us, before we put down his name.
The 3 Values to Become a Proper Heir
We believe the following 3 life approaches are the foundation of a happy and successful life, regardless of what one’s chosen profession or status is.
Function healthily in society.
Ryan will need to demonstrate that he is a responsible adult, who is using his gifts to lead a responsible life. Here’s what’s interesting, though:
- We don’t care if he goes to college (though, we’d love him to).
- We don’t care what he does for a living (just make one).
- We don’t care what he does in his private life (that’s private).
No matter what education he chooses, career he follows, or personal choices he makes, he must show us that he understands that a life without a sense of responsibility is a life without meaning. We will leave nothing to someone who is not a positive and responsible member of society.
Have humility. Not hubris.
Humility serves us all well. We can indeed be both humble and confident, but one must understand that being too impressed with oneself can be a toxic trait, putting off a “cocky” vibe, rather than a cool and confident air. The former approach is negative, and may hold you back in life, mentally, professionally, and relationally.
Think of it like this. Truthfully, no one else is that impressed with us (even though they say they are at times and are briefly), so cockiness and excessive self-pride are pointless traits that are often found in the weak, not in the strong.
Give, and be given.
My son will need to demonstrate the priceless value of generosity in order to be shown generosity himself. Those who have should find ways to give to those who have not.
Few things are more important than giving to and taking care of those who are in need, which means Givers make more of a difference in this world than those who harbor everything for themselves. Generosity, understanding, and kindness are the ways of successful people – at least the ones who are genuine and rich in character.
Values are Priceless.
You don’t need a lot of money, prestige, or position to be responsible, humble and generous. Any of us can exhibit those behaviors right where we are, regardless of rank, status, profession, or income. As parents, Ryan’s Mom and I are responsible for raising our son to be a reflection of our values and to be a person who can and will make a positive difference with his life.
We know for sure that if he lives a life of responsibility, humility and generosity, Ryan will influence others and be the truest form of happy. If there is anything left in our estate, then Ryan, it’s all yours (except for what your responsible, humble, and generous older sister, Laura, gets!).