As a sequel to the story of my youngest son’s fascination with money and his passing the baton to his son in this legacy race, I want to examine the other family component by reflecting on my older son. Unlike his brother, he showed no direct interest in money, until he could draw a sound connection between money and the stuff he wanted. The younger son wanted money for the sake of having it and using it to impress and influence others. However, the older son’s wealth seeking arose from a desire for personal comfort – which was always of great value to him.

The Progression of the Pursuit.

His first source of comfort was the thumb on his left hand. From birth, and I suspect even prenatally, this thumb provided a calm that could sustain him through any tough time. Along with the thumb he needed a blanket, actually it was a towel.Surprisingly, he had no particular towel preference – any terry cloth fabric with a woven selvage edge would suffice. Nothing in his world could rattle him while holding the towel, rubbing the edge and placing the thumb in his mouth.

But soon candy and sweets emerged as a second source – the comfort food of choice. Concerned elementary school teachers notified me concerning this issue. My son was adept at charming other kids out of cookies, cake and candy which he then ate instead of the lunch I sent with him each day. Then he progressed to comfort number three. Despite my efforts to limit his access to video games, he became completely addicted to gaming. About age 10 he awakened to his need for money to supply his never-ending desire for games and equipment.

A Business Launch. 

His chosen business venture was raking leaves in the neighborhood. Watching him develop a plan was so fascinating. He brought many valuable gifts to the table: artistic skills, computer savvy, clear ideas and strong opinions about how to make the business function best. We sat down together and designed the flyer to distribute throughout our neighborhood. The flyer contained pertinent information, assuring potential customers that he was a friendly, hardworking, neighborhood kid who guaranteed satisfaction. Services included raking and bagging the leaves so they could be set out on the curb for pick-up. He offered all this for a fee of just $3 per yard.  

Although the price seemed low to me, he insisted that charging more would be a deterrent to getting business. He argued eloquently and I was impressed. So, I gave in, content to let experience and natural consequences do the convincing. I thought for sure that after doing a couple of jobs sheer exhaustion would lead him to value his work more highly. I allowed him to be CEO, Chief Marketing Officer as well as the sole employee of his company.

A Setback. 

My husband, however, stepped in as chairman of the board and overruled our decision. Wanting to protect our inexperienced young entrepreneur from being taken advantage of by our neighbors (the marketplace), Dad changed the price to $10 and reprinted the flyers. My son was devastated, certain now that he would not get any business. And, whether because of the price or due to other factors, he (sadly) landed no jobs. For many years all thoughts of business were abandoned.   

A Problematic Personal Habit. 

Then during his teen years, he found a new source of comfort and fun – marijuana. Somehow, he managed to get money to supply his habit. But when he began bringing the substance into our home, I had a problem. He argued that it should be legalized and refused to comply with the law or my house rules. With great sorrow, I turned him over to the authorities. Yes, his own mother had him arrested and locked up. But that’s not the end of the story.


Now in his thirties, we have both lived to tell that story. He has worked a number of jobs and settled into automotive repair as his vocation of choice. He does very well, having secured a position with a major luxury car dealership. Best of all, we have been able to reconcile our differences and (happily) all is well between us.  

Another Run at Business. 

The entrepreneur spirit began to stir again as a new business idea emerged. I fully expected an auto repair shop, right. Wrong! I got the call requesting my assistance in writing a plan for a marijuana business! Now residing in a state where the substance is legal, my son and his roommate plan to open a dispensary. What an astounding turn of events. God has an amazing sense of humor. The same desire that threatened our relationship and landed him in trouble with the authorities, has driven him to pursue a radically innovative business. Even more surprising is that both my husband and I are supportive. If this is our son’s chosen pursuit and it is legal (maybe even ethical?) then we’ll help write the plan.

Returning  to our definition of legacy as: the long-lasting impact of particular events, actions, etc. that took place in the past, or of a person’s life. From our family stories I have learned vital lessons. The past has a habit of clawing its way into the future. Certain stuff just gets stuck on the walls of the soul and will manifest in the financial pursuits of life. The past produces values, which are like the wind. You cannot stop it and you should never spit into it. The best strategy is to harness it, work with it and enjoy!

I now have two adult sons: One a successful investment banker and one an aspiring “dispensary” operator. One watches his profits rise in the financial charts; the other watches his go “up in smoke!” We as a family are determined to ban together and build our legacy through them both. This adventure promises to be crazy fun!

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