Monday, April 7, 2008

The Best Lessons Are Not Learned At School

Despite being less than 3, my kids have taught me far more in the last 2 plus years than I ever learned at school. Before I had them, I always wondered about the whole motherhood bond - you know, that whole thing about 'you wouldn't understand unless you're a mom' thing. Well, now I understand that . . . and much more.

Since having Jameson, James and I have started to think about how we envision our lives 5, 10, and 20 years from now. I think having children forces people to give serious thought to how you will provide for the financial stability of your family and still have the flexibility to live the life you want with them. After all, why have children if you can't enjoy them? Don't kid yourself either though. Financial stability is important also because it is what allows you the freedom to live the life you want.

Financial stability means something different to everyone. To us (and I am speaking here on James's behalf), it means that we can live the way we want to live with our children, travel when we can & want to travel, allow ourselves to have fun without worry, and provide for our future and that of our children. That may seem like a tall order, but for a very long time I always envisioned leaving behind some type of "empire" to my children. As they and I grow older, my resolve only grows stronger. Allow me to give you some background.

My father emigrated from Mexico to the US after what he believed would be a temporary position became permanent. After a few of life's hard knocks, he began work as an independent consultant. He was successful enough to need to hire more help and so began his engineering company. I was 3 and half when he incorporated, so as I grew up, so did the company. I have had the good fortune to watch it, first, from afar through its ups and downs and, second, from within as we have worked together to build something of which we are both proud.

He has been my greatest teacher in matters of business, and I have learned very much through his example. I know one of the greatest lessons I have learned from watching him is that we must pursue our dreams because it's certain that they will not pursue us. That is, if you want to accomplish something, then you are the only one with the power to set it in motion.

Since I first saw Forrest Gump, it has been one of my favorite movies. I could never really identify why, but after getting JJ's nasty bug this weekend I had a chance to do some reading and realized why. I started reading Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money that the Middle Class and Poor Don't (highly recommended) upon the suggestion of our financial advisor (just hired). Later, I was in the shower reflecting on what I had read, and for some reason I thought of Forrest Gump. One of the messages I have taken away from the book (so far) is that education and intelligence are really only useful if you know how to apply them (in this case, specifically financial intelligence). I suppose Forrest Gump is a perfect example of someone who wasn't "intelligent" by the generally accepted definition and not highly educated, but he always pursued what he wanted.

I digress, but the point of all of this is that my childhood, professional, and now parental experience has taught me that sitting back and waiting for that "big break" is really more a myth than a reality. I think I always knew that deep down, but for some reason I just had not gotten around to acting upon it. Maybe it was fear. Maybe it was lack of knowledge. Maybe it was laziness. Maybe a bit of all three, but I am ready to change that now.

I'm not talking about quitting my job or even changing it (in fact, my stake in the company is one of my greatest assets & accomplishments), but many of the strategies I read about in Rich Dad Poor Dad ring true for me. James and I have talked about them for some time, but I am committing myself to acting upon them. I watched my father follow his own dream (with some nudging from my mother) and build a great life for himself and his family. I want to set the same example for my children. You know, "Stupid is as stupid does." as Forrest would say, so I refuse to be paralyzed by fear - that would be stupid.

Here's a little extra for you . . .the Trubaby watching his mom writing up her post.

1 comment:

blah blah blah said...

I think we're going to get that book. No one ever bothered to teach either of us about money. It was one of those things that we stuggled through trial-and-error style. I want our kids to grow up more prepared for the real world. We may have learned from the bad examples of our parents, and turned out just fine, but I know what you mean about wanting to provide the best possible life for your children.