Do You Have 2 Classes of Children in Your Family?

Lisa HandleyBlog, Family, Financial & Estate Planning, Generosity, Investment Management, Relationships, Stewardship, Wisdom for Life

Do You Have 2 Classes of Children in Your Family?

Each new stage of life offers new insights, perspectives and hopefully wisdom. Our family is on the verge of our second child’s wedding. We have been blessed with exceptional people who have joined our family through marriage. This makes the occasion an incredible celebration. It really is one of life’s greatest blessings.

After our first child’s wedding, I found myself asking new questions for the first time. Would Keaton, our daughter’s husband, be our son-in-law or our son? How would we/he know which he was and what are the implications to our family?

I believe my decisions need to be principle-based. Our family is one of our greatest priorities. We seek to foster mutual love and respect through our family, to enjoy and support each other, to have a common purpose, and to laugh a lot. We want to grow together and have lives that are fuller than if we did not have each other. For me, this vision requires that we only have one class of children: a child who married into our family would be treated no different than a child who was born into our family.

We seek to not treat our new children differently, but they are different. They have a different family history and different life experiences shared with their own families. There will be differences in perspectives. These differences are a great benefit to our family; they broaden our views, add to our collective history, give us access to new options. Our new children bring great richness and more flavour to our family. The best companies have people with diverse skill sets and embrace each person for the unique benefits they bring to the business. The best families do the same.

Unfortunately, there will be growing pains as a new person is grafted into our family tree. But I must remind myself that I would rather deal with these growing pains than change another baby’s dirty diaper. I would way rather seek to understand, exercise patience, adjust our ways or ask forgiveness. I cannot comment or relate to childbirth but adding adults to our family is certainly preferred over new births! And for me being a money guy, adding children that I have not had to educate, pay for sports equipment, clothes and feed for a couple decades is much cheaper.

So how do we know if we have two classes of children? My guess is as soon as you ask the question, your gut will tell you. If not, check your will, it will tell you if you have different classes of family members. Regardless of your answer, you need to ask what the implications are, and will this help or hinder the future you desire?

So how do we know if we have two classes of children? My guess is as soon as you ask the question, your gut will tell you.

Here are some ideas to move from two classes to one class, if that is important to you:

      1. Recognize differences bring variety, benefits and allow your family to be more than it otherwise could be

      2. Family harmony is not a function of all thinking the same way, but of bringing our different perspectives while still loving and respecting each other

      3. Express your desire to have one class of children

      4. Discuss as a family what you see as your core values and purpose 

      5. If you are really serious about this, revise your Will if needed! Actions are a big catalyst

  1. If you do not have adult children, think about your preferred future as a family.

    Begin to discuss a couple of your core values and family purpose. Communicate and discuss this as a family. These discussions help children develop their sense of identity, value, importance, and purpose.

    Families are like life: there are awesome and challenging times. The more we work on either, the better our chances of moving towards the awesome times. New family members bring new flavours and help develop your family, in ways that were never possible without them. Enjoy the journey to awesome!

    P.S. Welcome to our family, Laura! We are so thrilled; you are awesome!


Picture of a family

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