Over the past decade or so, I have ventured out of the house, worked hard to become independent, and have only just recently begun to understand the many advantages that I’ve had in life, thanks to my Mom and Dad. With Mother’s Day behind us and Father’s Day just a couple of days away, this post is a tribute to my parents. Be sure to leave your comments below with some specific things that your parents have done for you as well!
Thank you Mom and Dad….
I never realized it at the time, but my parents worked their butt off to send me (and my 4 siblings) to one of the best private schools in our area. Instead of sending us to a sub-par public school for free, they sacrificed their time and money (probably more than $250,000 worth for all of us) to give us a head-start in life. A sound middle school and high school education made the transition into college quite seamless, whereas many of my college peers struggled through much of the first year, trying desperately to catch up on what the public school didn’t teach them.
Beyond high school, my parents helped me financially in college as well. While they didn’t foot the entire bill, what they did offer was incredibly helpful and allowed me to graduate with minimal debt. So, not only did I have an amazing education, I had very little holding me back in terms of debt after college.
#2. For Teaching Me the Joy of Simplicity
My parents both come from humble beginnings. The town they grew up in is so small that I actually can’t even find a population count online. If I had to venture a guess, there’s probably less than 1,000 people in the entire community. Their parents both had similar roles – the dads worked a trade and the moms stayed at home with the kids. Money certainly wasn’t abundant for either family, but all of their basic needs were met and they were happy.
My childhood was slightly more privileged than theirs, but life was still simple. Our cars were far from flashy, we never took a vacation overseas, and our clothes were far from designer apparel. This simplicity helped us enjoy the little stuff though. Getting pizza ordered in was a treat, taking a vacation in our used motor-home to the campground was always a blast, and then there was the most special trip of all: spending a night in our favorite hotel just 45 miles away (they had arcade games, a pool, and 50 cent bowling!).
In my adult life, I have learned to enjoy simplicity as well. My house is cheap (yet in reality has plenty of space), my car is inexpensive (but has been the absolute best car I’ve ever owned), and I even run errands on my bicycle once in a while. Living simply has helped me put life into perspective. After all, life’s not all about gadgets and stuff, it should be more about people and relationships.
Okay, so you know I’m a die-hard debt free kind of guy right? Well I didn’t just turn out that way by chance. My parents had their house paid off before I was even born, and as far as I know, they’ve never carried any sort of debt since. They didn’t earn a ton of money, but we were always able to make ends meet because they weren’t bound by payments (like so many people are today). I didn’t necessarily realize it when I was growing up, but a few years ago it made all the sense in the world. A life free from payments is a life filled with options, joy, and carefree memories.
#4. For Teaching Me the Art of Hard Work
You know the old joke, “Are you working hard or hardly working?” This was no joke in our home. It was evident that my parents were working hard. All. The. Time.
My dad held a full-time job at the local woodworking factory (for 42 years of his life). He would wake up at 4:30am (sometimes earlier), go to work, and then get home around 3:15pm. Getting out of work early in the day sounds all well and good, but his day didn’t end there. For two or three nights of the week, he would be at home for about 30 minutes to eat something, and then head off to his side-business – the car dealership – and he worked there until 9pm.
My mom took care of all of us crazy kids, which would have been enough on its own, but she also found some time to work as the custodian for our church. I don’t remember all the details, but I’m sure this must have added 20 more hours of work to her already busy schedule for the week. But, the additional income helped put food on the table and pay for that private school education.
#5. For Being Nosy
I definitely didn’t appreciate this at the time, but my Mom had a way of checking up on us kids and making sure we didn’t take anything immoral (you know what I mean…the bad stuff, whatever it might be) into the house. I’m not sure if it was her intent, but by making beds and doing the laundry, she pretty much had free reign to looking in every crack and crevice of our bedrooms. If I ever had the notion of taking something bad into the house, I quickly dismissed the thought because it would probably be found in about five minutes. This really kept me on the straight and narrow for most of my life, and I definitely appreciate it today.
After hearing countless stories from my friends and coworkers about what “normal” life was like growing up, I quickly realized that I really had it good growing up. My parents woke up together, ate breakfast together, and kissed every day before they parted ways. They loved all of us kids and made sure we knew it. Our home always had a calmness to it, it was always safe, and I can’t imagine having a better childhood than the one I experienced.
#7. For Teaching Me Responsibility
By attending a private school, I saw a lot of wealth in my classmates. Of all the families at that private school, I’m sure that mine probably ranked in the bottom 20% on the wealth scale. And honestly, it never really bothered me, but I did notice a huge difference between my maturity level and my classmates’.
The kids with wealthy parents had new cars and trucks, and they would take them out racing or mud-running, without a caring one bit if they would wreck them. I, on the other hand, never had the desire to beat the crap out of my truck. You know why? Because I paid for it with my hard-earned dollars. The initial expense was mine to pay, and so was the gas, insurance, and the repairs. If the wealthy kids would break their vehicle, their parents would come to the rescue and cover the cost. They thought it was great at the time, but it taught them nothing about responsibility and set them up for failure later in life.
Thank You Mom and Dad
Mom and Dad,
Sometimes it’s tough to stop and express all the thanks that we have, but I wanted to make sure that you knew how much you are appreciated, even today. I’m an adult now, but you still are a very important part of my growth through this journey of life. Thanks for being great. I’m truly honored to call you “Mom” and “Dad”.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.