How can families raise resilient and engaged children?

How can families raise resilient and engaged children? Nurturing character, competencies, and calling—especially during uncertain times


As we traverse an unprecedented period in which families are gathered more closely than ever, an increasing number of families are eager to use this time as a learning opportunity for their children. For example, the importance of building emotional intelligence and understanding core financial concepts has never been clearer.

We at the Merrill Center for Family Wealth™ see this as part of the broader desire of families to foster resilience, engagement and motivation in the rising generation, particularly amidst the backdrop of wealth. We see three key areas that enable families to help achieve this goal and to help enable the rising generation optimize their potential: fostering the growth of important character traits, building core competencies, and encouraging the development and pursuit of passions. The below framework anchors us in these three key ideas.

Below are resources and ideas for parents, elementary aged children, teens, and young adults.

Read:

  • Financial Education Handbook: Practical Ideas to Engage the Rising Generation: Handbook providing interactive activities and resources (segmented by ages 5-25) to help teach core financial competencies
  • How Can We Harness the Power of the Rising Generation?: Whitepaper discussing research insights on how sustaining wealth and developing an empowered rising generation go hand in hand
  • Raised Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Lessons from Successful and Grounded Inheritors on How They Got That Way by Coventry Edwards-Pitt
  • Kids, Wealth, and Consequences: Ensuring a Responsible Financial Future for the Next Generation by Richard Morris and Jayne Pearl
  • Before We Say “Goodnight”: How to Tell Bedtime Stories about Your Life and Family by Hank Frazee

Do:

  • Visit Kiva (www.kiva.org) and engage in philanthropic conversations with younger children. Pair this exercise with the book One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway
  • Watch and discuss TED Talks related to grit and growth mindset:
    • The Key to Success? Grit by Angela Duckworth
    • The Power of Believing You Can Improve by Carol Dweck

Elementary aged children

Read:

  • A Chair for My Mother by Vera B Williams
  • Arthur’s Pet Business by Marc Brown
  • The Babe and I by David A Adler
  • Let’s Chat About Economics: Basic Principles Through Everyday Scenarios by Michelle Balconi, Arthur Laffer and Mary Kinsora
  • Mrs. Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
  • If The World Was a Village: A Book about the World’s People by David Smith
  • One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway
  • The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle by Jude Isabella
  • Growing Money: A Complete Investing Guide for Kids by Gail Karlitz and Debbie Honig
  • The Dog Poop Initiative by Kirk Weisler
  • Money Farm Activity Book & DVD (available for purchase via the Money Savvy Generation website; www.moneysavvy.com)

Do:

  • Parents and children can use the discussion questions (please see Appendix) to accompany the above listed elementary aged children’s books to help teach core principles.
  • Watch the animated series, Secret Millionaires Club (www.smckids.com), featuring Warren Buffett as a mentor to a group of entrepreneurial children whose adventures lead them to encounter financial and business problems to solve. The program teaches the basics of financial decision-making and some foundational lessons of starting a business. The animated series has 26 online short webisodes.

Teens

Read:

  • A Teen Guide to Investing Series by various authors. This series provides teens with a beginning guide to saving and investing for economic stability and growth. The books focus on the needs of young adults and discusses their changing investments as they enter the work world, purchase homes, start families, and begin retirement planning.
  • The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason. A bestselling financial book, Clason’s financial and motivational book relays core lessons of finance through legendary tales set in ancient Babylon. It addresses ways to acquire money, keep it, and strategically put it to work.

Do:

  • Engage teens in learning with the I’m a Shareholder Kit: The Basics about Stocks for Kids/Teens by Rick and Erin Roman. Awarded the NAPPA Honors in the Parent Resource category, it serves as one of the most user friendly stock market resources for children, guiding the reader in an entertaining and interactive way.
  • Visit the Better Money Habits Website, in partnership with the Khan Academy, to explore insights organized by topic, including credit, taxes income, home ownership, privacy and security, and more.
    • Visit www.khanacademy.org for the full range of interactive videos organized by topic and age/grade.

Young adults

Read:

  • A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing by Burton Malkiel. Malkiel covers the full range of investment opportunities and includes new material on the Great Recession and the global credit crisis, and features an increased focus on the long-term potential of emerging markets. Malkiel also has a new supplement that tackles derivatives.
  • The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. A ‘black swan’ is an event, positive or negative, which is deemed improbable yet causes massive consequences. In this groundbreaking book, Taleb shows in a playful way that black swan events explain almost everything about our world, and yet we—especially the experts—are blind to them.

Do:

  • Subscribe to MasterClass (www.masterclass.com) to learn from the world’s top instructors in various fields
  • Select a few TED talks related to developing a calling and finding fulfillment:
    • Why 30 is Not the New Twenty by Meg Jay
    • Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett
    • Plug into your Hardwired Happiness by Dr. Srikuman Rao
  • Review The Designing Your Life Workbook: A Framework for Building a Life You Can Thrive In (https://designingyour.life/the-book). Based on the popular Stanford course that started the life design movement, this notebook allows readers to dig deeper into their curiosities, motivations, and skills, define goals; and track progress. Work through innovative option-generating tools and exercises, including:
    • A Health/Work/Play/Love Dashboard tool to reflect on your work/life balance
    • Questions to help articulate Lifeview and Workview and define your Life Design Compass
    • Good Time Journal pages to log energy and engagement throughout the day
    • Worksheets to help ideate alternate Odyssey Plans for different versions of the future you
    • Charts for tracking your Life Design Interviews