Monday, April 02, 2007

Legacy Planning: What makes us Holzmanns? What are we all about? What do we want to stand for?

For me, the highlight of our first family legacy planning meeting came relatively late in the day but just before we hammered out a consensus vision statement.

We had all talked a bit about our top values (both "Most" and "Least"). I don't know that anyone felt that was particularly revelatory. Interesting. But only mildly so.

What blew me away was the next question we talked about (this was not in the Legacy Planning book): "Define what it means to be a 'Holzmann.' What defines you as compared to those around you?"

Whew! What would the kids say? Sarita and I had an opportunity to jump in on this as well, but we let the kids have their say first . . . and I was blown away. I had no idea what they would say. And I was shocked . . . and pleased . . . by their answers.

They seemed to agree unanimously: We are . . .
  • Happier
  • Healthier ("Not damaged")
We have . . .
  • Great Relationships ("We get along well one with another")
We are . . .
  • Complete/Whole ("We have unity")
  • Learners/Seekers after Truth
We . . .
  • Constantly Challenge "accepted norms"
  • Spur others on ("Iron sharpening iron"--Proverbs 27:17)
  • Constantly Seek "bigger/better"
  • Talk things out, seek to come to consensus
We have a culture of . . .
  • Inquiry
  • Help/Aid/Assistance
  • Trustworthiness
  • "Do it a minute" (just get it done . . . quickly)
Our top values include . . .
  • Education
  • [Religion] Follow God
  • Integrity
Funny . . . or maybe not: Sarita wanted to urge that we live lives of Order and Structure.

She met with some resistance. Not because we don't value those things or don't, perhaps, "wish we could." But several of us objected. "That is, most definitely, a huge value for you [Mom, Sarita], but ummmm . . . I'm not sure I can honestly say that's the way I live!"

I felt compelled to acknowledge what a blessing Sarita has been to all of us by providing that structure and order for us. But when she dies . . . I'm afraid that structure and order is going to die with her. We [whoever survives her] will feel that loss keenly. But . . . the rest of us, I'm afraid, don't necessarily hold that value nor live our lives with the kind of structure and order she does. . . .


Having come to this astonishing consensus about "who we are" and "what we value," Greg and Terry asked us to draft what we thought a vision statement for our family might look like.

We took maybe 10 minutes to draft our own versions. Then we wrote them up on large sheets of paper and hung them around the room. . . . And then set about to come to a consensus statement.

What an amazing process!

Our final statement (for Saturday, March 31st! --It is subject, of course, to revision):
We, the Holzmann family, understand that what we have been given allows us to personally and corporately influence others worldwide. Therefore, we seek to change our world--with God's help and for His glory--by training and equipping others to most effectively fulfill their God-given purposes.

We aspire to family harmony, consensual decion-making, and living life with integrity, prayer, and purposeful action.
Wow! I'm looking forward to future meetings. We have agreed to meet again the week after Justin returns from college in mid- to late May. We want to discuss the family "business": where are we financially? What resources do we have as a family . . . to impact the world . . . and to help each other?
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