What is the chief characteristic of a successful family?

This question was put on the table during a family retreat I have been facilitating – what makes a prosperous family and what will be the outstanding characteristic of this family? I think most families would confidently like to say they fall in this category, but not many manage to be the successful family they wish to be. Families might measure their success factor based on the happiness of the family members, the marital status of husband and wife and the achievement of everyone in the family. But family success is much more than this.

Since the moment I had children, I dedicate my life and actions building my powerful family. I have a clear vision for myself in how I wish to be as a marriage partner and how I want to to be as a parent. I am married, my children range from ages 17 to 32 years, and I have a granddaughter of almost one year. Every day I count my blessings, I count my blessings for my family and marriage twice.

In a conversation my family and I had with author, James E. Hughes (he has written many books on the theme of family posterity), we asked him the question: What is the chief characteristic of a successful family? What he shared with us was so inspiring that I wish to share it with you all. I also want to mention the first of his books I have read, namely “Family Wealth”. This book has opened a new worldview for me on my family about the real wealth in families.

James E. Hughes said: “ Great families are composed of big-hearted people”. They have a fundamental interest in other’s well-being. They care about other people, and they care for themselves. They have a balance of caring for others and self for the ultimate enhancement and development of each one involved. A family who consists of family members who care has the most significant potential to be successful. As we all have a deep inner drive to be of purpose and meaning and to make a difference, the roadmap to a successful family must then be nested in the acts of service towards others.
As each family consists of many family members, both through blood bonds and bonds of affinity, each family then consist of a multitude of talents, abilities, skills and acts of service. A successful, caring family creates the opportunity for everyone in the family to live their lives in accurate alignment to what is of importance, value and priority to her or him. A successful family is created when everyone in the family does what they love and love what they do.

I am using the following questions to help me to stay on the roadmap of building my successful family:

• 1. Is everyone experiencing the freedom to follow his or her dreams and goals?• 2. Does every family member perceive their value and importance in the family?
• 3. Does every family member have the opportunity and access to mentorship and receiving wise counsel to equip them with life skills?
• 4. Does every family member perceive they have a voice, and they are heard?
• 5. Does every family member have an awareness of his or her big-heartedness? Do we show acknowledgement and appreciation to each other?

If we think a successful family is a family with the most financial wealth, most opportunities for an extraordinary lifestyle and the most professional degrees, we are far removed from the real characteristics of a successful family. A successful family is a family where everyone has the most significant opportunity to develop him or herself to their highest potential to be of service to others and self.

In summary, I conclude: A prosperous family consists of meaningful, inspiring, fulfilled, purposeful and prosperous family members.

If the most essential structure of belonging is to a family, then the purpose of a family is to bring out the best in everyone in the family as well as everyone who comes into contact with the family, both directly and indirectly.

Successful family = big-hearted individuals = service to others and self