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Helping Family Businesses
Prosper Across Generations®

Client Wisdom on Family Meetings

By: Amy Schuman with Mary Kay Pasin, Radio Flyer

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As expert advisors who have been working at our craft for many years, many of us enjoy writing for this newsletter to share wisdom with others and hopefully help even more families in this indirect manner. While I think we have a lot to offer, sometimes our clients sum up the core points perfectly themselves. Here is a letter of reflection written by Mary Kay Pasin of the Radio Flyer business, which she plans to share with her family about the benefits she has experienced from family meetings.

“This letter was drafted on the occasion of 10 years of consecutive family meetings:
The process of the family meeting has provided the following benefits:

  • It has presented both the opportunity and challenge to gain insights into my own ways of thinking, feeling and behaving. The process has helped clarify for me the role I play and the gifts I bring to the family.
  • It has given me the gift of knowing my adult children and their spouses more deeply, and of understanding and appreciating their gifts and their unique ways of thinking, feeling, relating and communicating.
  • It has given me an understanding into the need and importance of moving into an adult relationship with my adult children and to accept, respect and appreciate each of their ways of individuating.
  • It has given me the clarity and confidence to make difficult decisions regarding estate planning and succession.
  • It has provided me the opportunity and the courage to express feelings and reveal vulnerability.
  • It has opened insight to view conflict as an opportunity rather than a problem.
  • It has given me the confidence to hear the expression of anger, criticism, and disagreement and to trust that it is healthy.
  • It has provided a forum for sharing, giving and receiving support during very painful familial challenges.
  • It has provided valuable resources for understanding human development, personality, temperament, communication and conflict.
  • It has inspired the faith that persevering with the work of building a strong, loving, open family is of highest value.
  • It has provided many wonderful and memorable opportunities for enjoying one another.”

Not only do these words underscore the value that this family has derived from their investment in family meetings—Pasin’s act of sharing these reflections with her family also models the importance of ongoing communication in a family. As humans, we often get bogged-down in what is not going well and fail to acknowledge and celebrate our accomplishments. These reflections suggest this family has had some challenging waters to navigate, but Pasin is taking the time to appreciate the distance they have traveled, and the learning she has gained along the way. I hope you take this example and also spend a moment reflecting on what you have gained and learned on your family’s journey, and then share your gratitude and thoughts with your family as well.

 

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