Aunts, Uncles, Cousins– “Value-added” Family Members

I recently wrote a short piece on “legacy building” for our WFC Family News Connection, with an emphasis on the legacies that parents and grandparents can build for their children and grandchildren.  In short order, I had a friend send the newsletter back with a big circle around the legacy piece. 

The note accompanying the returned newsletter was instructive.  The writer questioned why I hadn’t included extended family members in the call to build an excellent legacy for those coming behind us.  He said, “What about us uncles, aunts, and cousins?” 

It’s an excellent point.  We all have a responsibility to invest in the next generation–actively and purposefully.  Involved aunts, uncles and cousins–and other family members–can make a profound difference in the lives of nieces, nephews and cousins.   That’s happened in my own life.  I had an aunt and uncle who treated me as a daughter–complete with admonitions and advice, sometimes solicited, sometimes not.  Always, however, I knew I was loved and valued!  The legacy they have left me is indeed rich!

Being a good aunt, uncle, cousin or other extended family member who wants to build a legacy worth leaving demands energy and work.  It means determining what we want that legacy to be.  Godliness?  A great marriage? A strong work ethic?  Honesty?   It means spending time with family members, even when that requires travel and messy schedules.  It means making sure we are modeling what we want to include in the legacy–even when it’s hard, uncomfortable and downright inconvenient.  

Worthwhile legacies don’t come easily no matter our family “status.”   However, as we aunts, uncles and cousins purpose to build legacies for our loved ones, we are definitely adding lasting value to our families!