I work with wealthy families, some very wealthy families, and even some uber-wealthy families, and the truth is that they want what poor, working class, and all families want: happy, healthy, and productive kids.

One of the growing areas of my practice is coaching wealthy couples before they have kids and parents of very young children—babies and toddlers. I call my work with them the Purposeful Legacy Family Project. While I’ve always included teens and young adults in coaching and family retreats, I’m more convinced than ever that developing character and stewardship in the next generation requires thoughtfulness around parenting before having kids and in the first five years of their lives. I’ll go so far as to say that skipping the opportunity to be intentional with these young ones limits future stewardship potential—and overall potential.

Many wealthy families I meet are highly resistant to the idea of intentionally engaging with their very young children about financial stewardship. For some, their minds go to images of having discussions with toddlers about portfolio diversification and trusts. That would be insane—I agree! So no wonder, with that in their minds, they look at me cross-eyed. Other families are more realistic about the developmental capabilities of kids under five, but they come up with ideas related specifically to money—saving, spending, and giving money to help others. This is good stuff, all of it, but it misses the mark of what kids really need at this developmental stage. I like to say to them, “If you wait until kids understand what money is, you’ve already missed some of the simplest and most powerful opportunities to instill a stewardship mindset.”

I’ve written about parenting in the context of wealth many times before (April 2023, June 2023, and June 2022, to list a few). In recent speaking engagements, I’ve used videos to depict the possibilities for instilling values, character, and work ethic in very young kids. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth even more words! Here are three videos demonstrating what very young children are capable of (and thoroughly enjoy), while helping parents wrap their minds around the power of intentional parenting to develop foundational character, resilience, and work ethic well before their children have any concept of money.

Take a look at the videos and, as you do so, give thought to the following questions:

  • Do these experiences develop character?
  • What values are being instilled in these young people?
  • How do you think these little ones are likely to be affected in terms of desire to contribute as a family member and in the world at large?
  • Are these young ones rolling their eyes like teenagers or enjoying themselves?
  • Can you imagine their self-esteem is being affected by these experiences? If so, how?
  • Are these types of experiences beneficial to poor, working-class, and middle-class families? Is family wealth a special circumstance and is there a heavier price to be paid when these families are not intentional at these young ages?

1 – The Farmhand (Link to Facebook)

2 – The Warehouse Helper (Link to TikTok)

3 – The Young Chef (Link to Facebook)

Enjoy the videos, give the questions some thought, and I will follow up next month with my own thoughts about the questions above. Feel free to reach out to me personally for deeper conversation!