Building Capacity for Piety


We’ve been on the topic of filial piety for a few weeks now. Given the importance of getting this aspect of life correct, that seems fitting.

Last week, we left off on the note that we must edify our family structures and give our children an emotional home to fit into.

Without doing so, filial piety will consist of token gestures at best. The fulfillment of parental needs will go unaddressed and families will wither away.

They may disintegrate completely or remain in a ceremonial function – either way, real homes consisting of people who invest in each other will not be the case.

Family structures with defined roles and expectations are necessary for real homes to exist – homes in which a mutually beneficial symbiosis exists between parents and children that makes filial piety something natural and achievable.



Parents in the early to middle stages of their family lifecycle have an opportunity to get ahead of this issue and buck the trend of the broken family.

Healing our families is not something that mere words will achieve. Although, kind words can do wonders to soften the members of a family if delivered early and often.

The goodwill that speaking kindly can engender must be buttressed with actions that build capacity for improvement in our families.

Family structures are not defined in a day. They are organic manifestations of sustained improvements over time. When our actions are driven by a commitment to improve our lives, structure comes naturally.


For many of us, family is seen as an agent of disempowerment. That is a shame, as family should be the main outlet for empowerment and growth in our lives.

The main route to improvement and, subsequently, structure in families is their members empowering one another. That starts with parents empowering their children.

As decisions begin to be made with empowerment in mind, the capacity for the family to improve will begin to grow. At first, the family will have little to no capacity for improvement, but slowly that capacity will increase.

Once enough empowerment has been realized by enough family members, the resources should be available to execute a family structure.

Once a family structure is executed, filial piety should become much more attainable and our families may have the great distinction of becoming successful.

A few clarifications are usually necessary on this topic:

  • Empowerment is not attempting to get children to fit into a predefined mold of what we think success is; rather it is investing time and energy in getting to know our children and supporting their unique talents and aspirations.
  • Dictating pretty much anything is a sign of weakness; we must have the trust and patience to make principled decisions – rooted in a desire for improvement – and allow for the proper time and space for the return to manifest however it comes.
  • As capacity is built, parents must not stifle their children at the point of succession. It is illogical to give someone wings to fly just to clip them in the end.
  • The biggest part of capacity building is empowering those around us, so those we’ve spent our lives empowering should be the ones front and center in the succession process.
  • We should not be trying to guide our children to particular decisions. We should try to guide them to the ability to make their own decisions.




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