Greetings from a cold and somewhat depressed London.
The capital of the Old Dart just isn’t the same. Pubs are no longer the inviting warm haven they once were.
Even though restrictions have eased a little, there are a number of shops in the high streets that haven’t turned on the lights…and may never do so.
A lot of hope is riding on the vaccines returning life to normal. I think this is going to take longer than most anticipate. The tough economic conditions are not going away anytime soon.
But the health of the UK economy is a secondary consideration.
My visit to London was unplanned. Our daughter who lives here is suffering from long COVID. Her health is my primary concern. She requires daily assistance to aid in her (much hoped for) recovery.
When your child is suffering a debilitating illness, it’s a reminder of what’s really important in life.
The often-stated refrain at times like this, is ‘health takes priority over wealth’.
That’s understandable when you consider Merriam-Webster’s modern-day definition of wealth is:
‘Abundance of valuable material possessions or resources’
Material possessions are of little value if you don’t have the physical and/or mental capacity to utilise them.
However, the original meaning of wealth actually had nothing to do with material possessions.
According to Google’s etymology (the study of the origin of words) guide:
The word wealth was derived from a combination of ‘well’ and ‘health’.
Real wealth in a family is measured by the health and well-being (physically, mentally and spiritually) of its members.
From my experience these are the basics for a genuinely ‘wealthy’ family life.
Open and honest dialogue is the cornerstone to a healthy, well-adjusted family.
Communication styles vary — some are chatty, others like to get to the point, some want more details than others — but what can NEVER vary is the transparency of the message.
When you are less than honest, you risk sowing the seeds of doubt. And when you open the door to doubt, it can lead to trust issues.
Trust is central to all human interaction.
We deposit money in the bank because we trust in the orderly operation of the banking system.
We buy property because we trust in the rule of law to enforce our right to the title.
Every time we fly, we put trust in the pilots to get us to our destination safely.
Without trust, the system grinds to a halt.
It’s no different in family relationships. A family with ‘trust issues’ will never realise its full potential.
Conversely, where trust exists, people are generally eager to participate…giving of their time and sharing their ideas, energy and knowledge. Helping each other be better versions of themselves.
Trust or the lack of it, is the difference between standing united or falling divided.
Trust is the key to remaining united…which is why open and honest communication is absolutely critical.
Humility is a real strength.
Ash Barty has it. Bernard Tomic doesn’t.
Giving back to society — be it in charitable donations, working pro bono, participating in fund raisers, giving your time to worthy causes — is not only good for the soul, but it makes you appreciate just how fortunate you are.
Through no fault of their own, some people have been dealt some extremely difficult cards in life. Knowing and appreciating how the ‘other half’ live and the daily struggles they face, is truly humbling.
Never lose sight of what really matters in life…good health, the comfort of a home and the support of a loving family.
The value of giving back to society is one way of hopefully keeping family members grounded and appreciative…not resentful, plotting and vindictive.
There are many qualities we hope our children develop…persistence, self-esteem, critical thinking.
However, in my opinion, the ‘attitude of gratitude’ is paramount. That’s why giving back is so important.
With an attitude of ‘entitlement’ creeping into society, developing an attitude of gratitude is crucial.
Saying please and thank you. Being appreciative of the efforts of others. Expressing gratitude for our daily blessings.
A few years ago, I started a daily gratitude list…the little and big things I need to remind myself to be appreciative of.
As a constant reminder, the list starts with these quotes…
‘Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.’
‘As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.’
John F Kennedy
‘Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.’
There are the obvious blessings to be thankful for…good marriage, our children, our financial position.
Then there are less obvious ones. Like having the use of all my limbs, good nutrition, the sense of smell, clean bedding, running water, electricity, proper flooring, peace, access to a first-world health system.
There are so many things we take for granted and simply assume as a given.
However, in some countries, people — who have feelings and emotions the same as you and I — are living in squalor and constant threat to their personal safety.
We have so much to be grateful for…instilling an attitude of never taking for granted what we’ve been blessed with, is one of the enduring gifts we can give our children.
And it’s important to remember, our family values are ‘caught not taught’.
Children (young and not so young) observe what we do daily…and make no mistake, our actions speak far louder than our words.
Building a strong bond — developed on love, trust, mutual respect, humility and gratitude — is the best chance we have of succeeding in our quest for a ‘wealthy’ family.
The unbreakable strength of our family bond is what brought me to London. While that might seem so obvious, I can assure it is not.
During my professional and personal life, I have encountered plenty of dysfunctional families. Parents estranged from their children. Parents playing children off against each other. Bitter sibling rivalries. These families may have material possessions, but they do not have genuine family wealth.
Ironically, in many instances where family relationships have broken down, it’s because the modern-day version of wealth took priority over the family’s health and well-being.
The most rewarding investment you will ever make is in your family wealth.
Editor, The Rum Rebellion