Invest in your family

Published on 10 May, 2022

Social circles can be a source of comfort, support, fulfilment and growth. As someone who builds communities, I’m aware of the compounding advantages that come with being part of an additional circle. We have more people to learn with. More access to opportunities. A richer perspective of the world. And more protection when things go wrong. Having that in mind, accessing new circles and maintaining strong connections over long periods of time is hard. Most of us are part of less than 4 social circles. And our ability to influence them is often limited: It's easier to find a new employer, university or religion than it is to try and change the culture that defines them. But that’s not the case with family.

Families are institutions. They have a culture. Although we don't pick them when we're born, we have a higher degree of agency over them. The key insight about families is that they are not cohesive by default but they are malleable. We can shape them with time and patience.

Regardless of how we might feel about our extended family, they’ll always be part of our life. Friends, colleagues, teachers, mentors come and go. But family stays. It makes sense to invest time and energy building close bonds and cultivating a wiser, wealthier and emotional intelligent environment. We're investing in our future happiness. And we help generate a virtuous cycle that may make everyone better off in the long run.

Looking at the future, I can only hope that my kids grow up with a high sense of belonging and self-esteem that often comes with being part of nurturing social circles early on. And I know that in order to achieve that, I have to start doing the work today.

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