(Issue #525) Ethical Wills

Connect generations to come by sharing questions,
messages, challenges, accomplishments, connections, and experiences.

Last month I spoke with and recorded a 94-year-young woman. Actually, she did the talking and I did the listening as she addressed questions like:

  • What was the best decision you have made in your life?
  • What has been your most important life lesson?
  • What has been the most significant change you have seen in the world during your lifetime?
  • If you could only give one piece of guidance to your community (family; younger generation; leaders), what would it be?
  • What would you like people to remember about your life?
  • What you like to say to your family and friends?

Unscripted, she dove into each question and shared her insights about life. And by recording her story (or at least, a few pieces of her story) in her words, she has left a wonderful treasure for her family and friends.  More than a memory of her thoughts, those dear to her have her voice, tone, and inflections.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

A few weeks after the above recording session I read about ethical wills. We know about last wills that distribute financial assets. And perhaps final arrangements are noted.  Ethical wills go further.  They allow the person writing, drawing, or recording the will to distribute more than dollars and cents.  They provide a vehicle for passing on their story. Their legacy.

In Ethical Wills: Putting Your Values on Paper, Barry K. Baines says that ethical wills provide direct communication about a life’s journey and the lessons and values that have guided that journey.  He said that an ethical will “represents continuity between the generations…a link between past and future generations.”

At various beach access points in our community you will find benches with an inscription of “In Memory….” A reminder to passersby of the person. A link to a name and a family. The ethical will adds another layer(s) of reminder.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Baines asks his readers to consider people from their past who have died.  What questions would you have liked to ask them about their stories? What do you wish you knew?

An ethical will can help fashion those answers and connect generations to come by sharing questions, messages, challenges, accomplishments, connections, and experiences from your journey. It then becomes your gift.

Video Recommendation for the Week

Listen to this TEDx talk about ethical wills.

Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My new book has been released.
eBook ($2.99) Paperback ($9.99). Click here.

Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.

Well, actually, my dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story.
Click here for more information about the book.

In the meantime, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • My book, Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019), (print and e-book) is available on More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
  • Check out my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). It has been adopted for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. I conducted (September 2019) a half-day workshop for a community college’s new faculty onboarding program using the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network®.

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

©2020. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®


About stevepiscitelli

Community Advocate-Author-Pet Therapy Team Member
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3 Responses to (Issue #525) Ethical Wills

  1. Pingback: (Issue #553) A Blogger’s Retrospective for 2020 | The Growth and Resilience Network®

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