The Most Valuable Inheritance - "A Work Ethic"
9:00 AM comes especially early for kids or young teenagers. It is even more debilitating when your father is the alarm clock that has a snooze button you don’t want to press. Today by 9:00 AM I have run a mile, been at work for an hour, and had my first cup of coffee. But back then, not so much. There was always something to do around the house and my father made sure that we were up to do it. Of course, we were never in the best of moods in the morning and this reaction would be met with a rhetorical question from my father such as “do you think this is a resort?” He always had us doing something even if it was completely useless to keep us busy. I realize now, as a grown adult, it was all about using our time productively and that’s what I learned from my serial entrepreneurial father.
By no means did I have it bad as a kid growing up, although, my thirteen year old self might say otherwise, but in hindsight I was extremely fortunate. There are kids who had it much worse and I thank God for my family and the childhood I experienced. I learned some valuable lessons growing up from my father, who had a strong work mentality. I remember being yelled at one time as I rolled past him on my bike into the garage because I didn’t bring the trashcans up from the driveway. When confronted, I simply stated that I was never asked to do that. That is when I had my first lesson on taking initiative. Doing things that need to be done without being told to do them. It has stuck with me to this day. It was a simple message that was received and learned at a very young age. I also remember learning early on that entitlement doesn’t go too far in our house. I had the normal daily chores but I never received an allowance because my dad didn’t “believe” in allowances (I used to get so irritated at that statement). If we wanted money, we either had to get a job or do extra work around the house. Again, nothing major but a simple principal that stuck with me as I got older. There was an old Dire Straits song that my dad always sang when we became a little entitled called “Money for Nothing”.
I would always get frustrated because I knew our family had money but when I went out with friends I was always the one with no money. I got used to saying, “yeah my family has money but I don’t.” So before I turned sixteen I would do things like wash my dad’s car for money (which I never did right) or clean out the garage which was always a mess from weekend projects. As soon as I was able, I got my first job and received a thousand dollar 1994 Honda Passport to get to work. Again, another point of frustration because I knew my dad had more money to spend rather than on a piece of junk, but truthfully, I actually loved that car. Yet, I did not contribute to the purchase of the car so I learned to be grateful for what I received. From then on I worked through high school and college developing a bigger appreciation and gratitude for everything I learned at a younger age.
I have enjoyed some success early in my life and look forward to a future with the knowledge that there is no such thing as “money for nothing.” I am grateful for my family and the opportunity, from a young age, to learn the values that made my father a successful entrepreneur. What once was bag of cliché sayings became the lessons I live by today.
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