A great patriarch such as Joseph Kennedy can shape the destiny of his family for generations to come. Imagine what the Kennedy family and America would look like right now if statistically improbable bad fortune had not been encountered along the way. RFK would have been president if not for an assassin’s bullet and JFK Jr. would have also swooped into the White House if not for his love of small single engine planes. Instill a family with winning values and the harvest can be reaped for generations.
A train wreck like documentary on the White’s of West Virginia also helps show that the inverse is also true. If you set the wrong tone for your family it becomes a negative self fulfilling cycle that repeats itself over generations. Drugs, violence, criminal behavior, and prison time are the legacy of the White’s in the unflattering but accurate documentary that highlights their outlandish behavior. To me the most insightful part of the documentary was the comment from the one woman who just gave birth and she was lamenting that her child had no future while living in this town and being raised by this family in this environment. Truer words have never been spoken.
For good or bad you have the opportunity to create a family legacy. You can define your family values around demanding excellence, encouraging education targeted towards useful endeavors, fitness, and fun with family. Leading by example, paying attention to your kids lives and helping mold their future is a payback that will be seen over the course of generations. Parenting like this is not an easy thing to do and many of your peers will view you as excessively demanding which is not politically correct in this day and age. Go against the grain, demand excellence and be satisfied with nothing less. It is the only way to cultivate greatness.
Questions to ask yourself:
What type of example am I setting?
Do I back up my expectations with firm, consistent reinforcement?
Am I demanding excellence from my children?
Am I providing all of the tools I can to help them reach their utmost potential?
Am I harnessing their natural abilities and guiding them towards a high value career?
Am I teaching them what type of people to associate with to avoid trouble and fulfill their potential?