How can a founder consciously build his family’s human capital? Here are some ways:
1) “This too shall pass”
Children should learn the philosophy of transience from an early age. The idea that all things change, including wealth and status and therefore to not peg one’s identity on both is a powerful force that keeps one grounded.
2) “This is not mine”
This idea is closely linked to the previous one. When oblations are offered to the Vedic fire, one says “idam na mama” (this is not mine). Such is the case with all possessions in life. When children are taught to view their wealth as tools for progress and not possessions to be owned and enjoyed, they are bound to understand custodianship and make wiser choices later in life.
3) “Value, not price”
It is important to teach children the value of everything and not just the price. Value includes the emotional, social, psychological and spiritual value.
4) “What does it take”
It is important for children to know how much blood and sweat it takes to make every single penny of profit. When they understand that earning takes a far greater amount of strategy, intelligence and motivation and also has a lot more personal satisfaction and social prestige attached than spending, they will be inspired to create and not dissipate.
5) “What is your monthly budget”
When there is plenty, there is the danger of living like there’s no tomorrow and eventually, living beyond one’s means. It is important to set limits on spending from an early age and hold children accountable for their spending, helping them prioritize their needs and desires and teaching them the value of deferred indulgence.
6) “This is our way”
Every successful family has a great family culture that is established really early on. Culture can’t be superimposed but it has to be lived in day-to-day life. Establishing the family culture is one of the important ways in which a founder can ensure the health of his family’s human capital.
7) “Thank you God for everything”
Ultimately, an attitude of gratitude reinforces the custodian orientation and keeps the next generation on the right path.
8) “Time, the most precious gift”
It is all too easy for a founder to focus all his time and energy on the business he is building and neglect his family. However, for all of the above to work, a founder must spend quality time with his family, in order to consciously mould them into the future torchbearers for his vision and work.
9) “Start early”
It is far more difficult, if not downright impossible, to influence and mould an adult than an impressionable child. Values are best sown on fresh, fertile soil. Founders would do well to start grooming their flock when they are young, rather than worry about their behaviour only after they reach the boardroom.
10) “My life is my message”
Finally, no teaching can have impact if the teacher is not seen to be practicing his own precepts. Founders must live the values they espouse and be a living example for their children and others.
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Keywords: mould, human capital, family culture, monthly budget, philosophy of transience, custodianship, example