Friday, July 23, 2010

You can't have Quick and Cheap and Good Today!

A Triplicate of Choice?
My dad came up with a most interesting and insightful observation when I was in high school.  I've thought about it often..and pass it on as one of the truly great practical pearls of wisdom he passed on to me.

Some might call this a TRIPLICATE of CHOICE--narrowing a decision for a prospect or friend--but I don't think so--these are "Choose two and one just doesn't fit!"

I'm proud of my father, Milo S. Howe.  He was an enthusiastic man with many gifts.  Like my son, he was a genius from his wrists down.  He could fix absolutely anything--and into his 80s he was still perfecting the mechanical skills that he started developing in a comfortable barn at the machine shop on a rainy day in Nebraska farm country.  He loved the rain for what it did for his crops--and for what it allowed him to do indoors during the day.  He took on extra work for extra family dough--a bicycle shop, a key business-- He even cut hair with hand operated clippers after his service in Europe was over at the end of WWII.  His tips paid the downpayment on our first little house.    

His Father, Grampa Walter was a mechanic who could fix anything at the Alphalfa mill--almost til the day he died.   I inherited some of--but most of that skill jumped me and went into my two great kids.   

One of my greatest memories of Jeff and Sally was the Autumn night they tore on the motor in her Colt Vista and spread the parts on a clean white sheet in the basement--and polished and re-oiled every single spring and washer.  It's great when you raise kids who can DO THINGS!

Chris and Ellen's second child--James is our BOB THE BUILDER.   He's 7 and already learning to mow our front lawn.  He loves to measure and saw!  He is a dervish hammer jockey!  It's great when you raise gramkids who can put tools to work and DO THINGS!

Here's the Pearl of Wisdom from Milo:  "You can't have Quick and Cheap and Good all at once."  He taught me that summer afternoon that you could have two of the three along these lines:

1.  You could have GOOD and CHEAP if you didn't want it Quick.  We took several days to lay tile in our basement when most folks would have slapdashed it down there.   He wanted to have it just so he took his time and put up with my impatience.

2.  You could have it QUICK and CHEAP as long as you didn't want it GOOD.   Made in Japan in the 50s was a pretty good example of that concept.   Everything fell apart.   Japanese manufacturers kept shipping inferior junk over--and tried to make up for in quantity what they lacked in quality.   It took Quality Guru Edward Demming to get them to change their approach--today so much of what we buy of quality comes from the land of the rising sun.

3.  You could have it  GOOD and QUICK if you didn't care how CHEAP--make that how much extra you had to pay for the item or service in question!  As I learned to work in the Osmond quality SHOW BUSINESS factory, I was amazed at how they threw money away that my wife and I would have to plan and budget for the same things in our marriage.    Make no mistake, the Brothers and Marie are all thrifty--sometimes squeakily so--but when there's an opening night looming they think nothing of calling one of their friends in the business and taking delivery on an expensive prop or costume--no matter what the cost--and only if they can have it on a plane and to the theater by noon the next day!

This Good and Quick no matter what the cost afflicted my last employer.   He never used a budget--which is reckless for a CEO of more than 100 emplohyees.  It was a CASHFLOW business, after all---even if he had to wait a week or two to have enough uncommitted money to buy stamps to send out his receivables!  It eventually did him in--and after riding high for years and years, he couldn't adapt to a downward marketing (The real estate bubble burst all over him)  He closed his doors and called the Bankrupcy attornies!

My long term goal in life is to win the Irving J. Thalberg Award at the Academy Awards.  Thalberg was the planning and production genius that made the movies run on time when Louie B. Mayer was the boss at MGM.  He lived the mantra that Proper Prior Planning prevents panic.  I've seen his production charts for some of the greatest movies ever made.  It was his industrially developed version of Microsoft Project.  Every little detail had a place, a process and an outcome--that he could follow up with a few good conversations and a phone call or two of follow up.   

Acting attracted me to show business--me with a great face for radio --Playwriting Scripts, Promotion ideas and Rules has kept me involved all these years (In the beginning was the Word etc., but being a Producer-- that's my favorite part.  Life can be "produced" if you develop the planning, execution and follow up skills.  If it absolutely doesn't have to be done this week, I can usually turn it out for you--or get someone to do it.

Brigham Young was the ultimate producer.  Said he, "It is good to do the work of ten men, but it is greater to get ten men to do the work!"

God, I believe was a producer in an earlier life.  See the post about what occupation our Heavenly Father from the point of view of Chicago Author/Attorney Scott Turow, "Grampa, what did God do for a Living?"  

God, the Father and his Son, the Savior of the World know that you can't have Quick and Cheap and Good Today!  But with a little planning it can be "produced"! JWC

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"IZUPPA2U" the Drill Sargeant Screamed at Me!

Your Friendly Momma Substitute
Taking responsibility for your own life is not as easy as it seems.   It takes an open-hearted recognition that nobody else is gonna do it for you when you "grow up".

I was a more mature 25 than most of the 18 year olds at Ft. Leonard Wood's Basic Training when a Drill Sargeant from Philly screamed at a group of us waiting for a truck.  It was a lecture born of frustration with the  things that happen when kids leave home for the first time and expect mom to be there to clean up after and anticipate their every need.  I happened to be in the same group--and got the same verbal blast.

"IZ-UPPA-2-U!" he began and ended his Philly flavored diatribe.  "U-GOTTA-Take-RSPNSIB-ILITY fer ur OWN LIFE from here on out.  Yo' Mamma ain't beside you anymore!  Those apron strings have been slashed!  Whaddayagonnado out there on the front lines--turn around and ask for clean shorts when you take enemy fire for the first time.    Hey, if you don't carry dem witchya--nobody else is gonna!

Military counseling is as brutal as the slaughter of the English Language used to do it.

Grampas may be called upon to help facilitate a transition--for a young father or tender new Mom--or more likely a high school age buddy he's watched grow up since he was a pup.  The story of the Drill Sargeant might be an interesting way to bring the subject up.

In time of war, they say, the more you sweat in peace the less you bleed on the front lines.  Pray God we don't ever have to involve one of your near and dear on foreign shores---by the time yours grow up Afganastan will be a distant memory and Iraq will be handling it's own security and government.

Emptying the trash without having to be told sometimes escalates to the moral equivalent of War in some mother's minds.   I chuckled at a friend recently.  She has three at home from 12 to College age--with a girl in the middle--and she marvels at how all three of them can pass an overflowing can of trash without stopping to take some responsibility.

Wise parents like Chris and Ellen have been encouraging little chores and jobs and duties for a coin or two since their kids could walk.  This otherwise terrific mom couldn't bring herself to start a Jobs and Duty Chart--or a rotating chore spinner.  "They'll never do it, she whined.

With that attitude, of course, they never will.   She called me the other day with an amazed tone--her youngest finally got sick of the ants and the stink--and after making a big deal about it with his brother and sister--he yanked the bag out of the can--tied it off with a jerk and heaved it outside into the trash.   He took some responsibility.

My friend, Psychologist Lee counseled us to make the duty clear, get an agreement (even write up a little contract) and then just leave the trash to smell and draw bugs.  CONSEQUENCES was his mantra...and he hummed it often.  Most moms will just roll their eyes and throw up their hands--and empty the crummy thing themselves, but they do their offspring no favors.

Tough love demands CONSEQUENCES in the young before they leave home and discover them biting them in the bottom in the REAL WORLD.  If things get dicey after a contract is signed, he suggests you put the rotting can in the middle of the kid's bedroom and stand back for the explosion.  Stand your ground.  My loving mother stumbled on that principle neglecting the can accidentally on purpose.

Training when they're young will hopefully save them from a frustrated Drill Sargeant screaming inches from their faces--or worse depending on someone else to take responsibility in a front line situation until it is too late.:  IZUPPA2U!!!   JWC.

Do-It-Yourself Liposuction (1.4 lb. at a time)

As I was climbing out of the shower I noticed something: my belly has actually shrunk a couple of inches.  Hooray for the Body Grampuncular!  Used to be that I had to turn sideways and wedge in to our narrow little downstairs shower with a pop and a HOORAH! when I finally squeezed this chubby little body grampuncular in for a wash, soap and rinse!

This morning---wow! Clearance!!!

It's true-- I may be gaining and losing that yo-yo pound and a half--but I noticed a little less of me--the inches are finally descending!!!.

All that dinner table sacrifice, mid day swimming and walking with my trusty walkin' buddy, Tim 2-3 miles every day is finally paying off.

If you are struggling with the bulbous, fatty goo, the enemy of your heart that precedes you every where you go-- and floats above water like a frowning beached whale; if you are one of us--take heart! DO-IT- YOURSELF Liposuction, done gently day by day for all the happy reasons that will prolong your terrific life, CAN BE DONE!

Let the woulda-coulda-shouldas go by. Ask yourself, like you did your kids (and get to ask your gramkid on your regular cell phone calls):

1. Where are you, right now?

2. What are you doing right now?

3. What are you doing about right now?

Concentrate on the day-to-day and the long term.  Learn to humbly live defiantly in your imagination about 80% of the time!

Let thoughts and discussions of the negative..the stresses and what's not working, just go unsaid.

Remember that we ALWAYS compare our selves to others--using their best selves and victories...and our worst selves and often unknown failures known only to each of us.

The old idea that you can conquer fear of speaking by imagining the audience sitting there in their underwear-- By the way, make it realy drab grey underwear so you won't be concentrating on EXACTLY how some of the lovlier look!

Imagine yourself thinner like you used to be. (Images from the past help a lot. I have a little 3x8" glossy black and white of my old high school body hanging on the wall near my desk.  My trim young self is dressed  in a svelte black swim suit, fists clenched and stomach flatter than I can remember.

I barely tolerated gym class.  I played baritone in the band at the football and basketball games.  Never actually suited up for anything --except once in my long un-washed gym clothes for a deacon's basketball torture one snowy winter's night in what we used to call the GIRL'S GYM!!!  (See what I mean about private unknown failures,  that we alone remember in excruciating detail?  Psychologists say we dream based on images. Try that!

In the meantime, enjoy the simplest of pleasures like going in and out of a narrow shower door without having to suck it up to wedge inside. I did--and I will again! JWC

Monday, July 19, 2010

Gramkid Enterprise-- Bread is better than Lemonade!

Every Grampa worth his salt has purchased more than a few cups of homemade lemonade from a Gramkid's roadside stand.  

It's a mercy mission, right?  Almost a pity purchase.  The lemonade is either too weak or too sweet.  The homemade sign is cute, after a fashion-- but if you're worth your salt as a good grampa--you want a good end, so you go out door to door advertising and cajoling the neighbors to come and participate in the favorite kid money maker of hot summer days.  

Always in the back of your head is the hope that ones so young will learn good business lessons.  

Most of 'em try it once.  They learn HOT and HARD WORK and STICKY.  They learn begign' for more money to buy lots more more drink powder,  sugar and cups.  They learn how hard it is to get passing traffic to stop and give them good money for their questionable product.  They learn discouragement, and so often, they give up, go home and never do it again.   You're lucky if they wash up after and get all the gear  back where it's supposed to be in the kitchen.

Tim, my walkin' buddy and I had done our 8,000+ steps this morning and were in the home stretch when we came upon a hard workin' tween--a little blondie struggling with a folding table, a bulging backpack and a great big empty pitcher holding a couple stacks of paper cups.  Tim thought maybe  junior masseuse--but the pitcher told the story.   It was about 1:30 PM and we were witnessin' the end of what likely was a failed lemonade stand.  The other girl down the street must have been in charge of the hand lettered sign--cuz our little friend was packin' everything else.

She overheard me correct Tim and properly identify the popular tween enterprise of the summer, and she nodded between gasps for breath, toting her heavy load.

Our mutual boss, Vernon Thompson gave us a monograph about a young lemonade stander who parlayed a varied product line and incredible data base with outstanding customer service into considerable stock holdings in IBM.and a little chain of stands--each one cuter than the last.  Only the best of Big Business ever learns the lessons of the humble little successful lemonade stand--and gets employees to produce the results the best of young stand owners learn by trial and error.

I honestly don't know about my diligent little girl buddy on the street this morning, but she likely found out that big bucks only come after a lot more work than she or her little partner were willing to do at the age of  9.

So I gave her an idea.   Her perspiring young brain likely didn't pick up on it, but here's what I told her:

The Sucker Patrol of the Princess Pagoda (about her same age) are profiting year 'round from a Bread Subscription business and splitting the take between their college funds and some modest spending money.  

Their talented baker mom and canny MBA Bond Trader Dad helped get them started...and it's been just clickin' along like a little income producing machine for almost a year now.  Compound interest on this little moneymaker will teach them some pretty good business skills and pay for their college!

I even divulged the simple business plan as we ambled by:  Help your mom bake 20 loaves of aromatic white ,full grain bread-- you know the kind you can't get at the store or any nearby bakery.   Buy the loaves for fifty cents each and sell them on a weekly subscription for $2.00 each.  That's a $40 gross and a raw net of $30 minus the cost of bags and delivery gas etc.

The internal business muscles that the Bread Subscription enterprise develops runs rings around the once-or- twice-a-summer bound-to-be-discouraging lemonade business.  

To illustrate the real world lessons they're learning: James, 7, delivered two fresh baked aromatic tasty loaves to my Samoan friend Ta's home.  The second loaf was a mistake.  Ta had only bought one.   Ta and his Jayne were hosting a bunch of , well, freeloading Samoan friends that were there in the middle of the day when James delivered the bread.   They fell on the first loaf--and there was nothing but crumbs and an empty paper bag when Ta got home from work.  About that same time, the 7 year old bread subscription entrepeneur dropped by with his Dad in the van to correct his earlier mistake.

Ta told me, "All at once I saw the empty bread bag, the happy well fed smiles on my friends faces..and James gently demanding the other loaf.  I offered to buy it from him, but the young businessman was surpizingly tough."

"Nope, " the seven year old told me flatly.   "It's already been sold on subscription to someone else.   Sorry, Ta, but I gotta have it back!  I cried a little inside knowing that this Wednesday I would NOT be enjoying fresh baked subscription bread that has been delivered to my door for months and months"

You can't buy that kind of integrity training in one so young.  It only comes in the hands-on doing, of  kind, far thinking clever parents teaching correct principles and letting their budding young businessmen and women govern themselves.

My little exhausted lemonade broker cocked one eyebrow...and thanked me (she thought) and kept lugging her lemonade stand gear up the hill.  Sweat dripped off her forehead.  She blew away a stray blond strand of hair that had dripped into her face. As we passed,  I imagined her she wondering if there was a better way to earn bigger bucks with bread instead!  JWC

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Grampa's Treasury of Chore Solutions

A dear friend complained that the garbage can in her kitchen had been overflowing for a week.  None of her three children ranging in age from 12 to College age took enough interest to take out the trash.  Here's a guest post treasury of chore solutions from the editor, Jen Hubley.  I plan to send this to my friend--but it could help you too!

From Jen Hubley, your About Today Editor
My sister called me the other day with a brilliant plan: "I'm going to sew a mop head to your nephew's pants. That way, while he's rolling around on the floor playing with Elmo, he can actually earn his keep."

Age-Appropriate Chores
My nephew, it should be noted, is two. So his contributions mostly extend to putting toys in a box and then emptying it.

5 Easy to Use Chore Charts
Older kids, however, can and should lend a hand. (By the way, my sister says "older" is two years and five minutes old.)

How to Counter Kids' Excuses To Get Out of Chores
When I was a teenager, I tried to convince my Mom that the chore chart was incredibly medieval and anyway, unnecessary, since I was obviously going to help out anyway. This worked just as well as you think it did.

4 Reasons Your Family Won't Help With Chores
If you're the tidy person in your household, well, I can only imagine your pain. Also, you should check out these tips to get your messy people (like me!) to do their share.

Grampa Throws a Birthday Party on a Budget!

With birthdays come birthday parties, gifts, and sometimes a cash shortage.  But, there are ways to help minimize your costs and still have a great birthday party on a budget.  This guest blog from Christian Personal Finance has some great ideas if you're pinching pennies til they holler "Uncle".

10 Ways To Control the Cost of Birthdays

1.  Anticipate expenses.

I know. Parties are supposed to be fun.  Here I am trying to spoil the fun, but you should budget for birthday expenses.  Sit down several months early and estimate the cost of the party(ies).  Start saving a few months in advance.  In our family, we have gifts as a line item on our family budget.  Each month we save for gifts even when we don’t buy gifts.  We know that eventually our gift savings and our gift giving will one day equal zero.

2. Be creative.

I think creativity is one of the best money saving tips of all time.
With creativity, you can turn any bland household item into hours of endless fun.  There is nothing wrong with going out and hiring a clown or bubble machine for a birthday party – as long as you have the cash to pay for it.  But, if you’re broke, you’ll need to be a little more creative.

A few weeks ago, I put a cup of flour in a bowl and my kids doused me with “snow”.  We played for almost an hour with a cup of flour as our only source of entertainment.  Think about how much fun 10 kids could have with a open package of flour (be sure to play outside).  For $5-10 you can get enough bubbles to entertain kids for an afternoon.

3. Limit the activity or the guests.

Making an invitation list can be extremely difficult.  We all feel pressure to invite every kid who had a party in the last year.  That is all good and fine, but if you are planning to go to the bowling ally and have pizza, that could add up fast.  If you can’t afford it, either limit the activity or guests.  If you don’t think it is right to limit the number of guests, then choose a cheaper party alternative.  Head to the park or go to the beach.

4. Have two parties.

This one doesn’t seem to make sense as a money saving strategy; however, it works.  Following up on the point above, you could have two parties.  The first party is open to all of your kid’s school and church friends.  That is going to be a morning at the park with hotdogs.  Then, later in the week take your family and go bowling.  I’ve never heard a kid complain about having two parties.  If you have trouble saying no, this could be a good way to cut the birthday party costs.

5. Remember where kids are at developmentally.

My youngest just turned one.  She got a boat load of clothes and toys.  At the end of the day, she was pushing around a plastic container that used to house one of her toys.  The toy sat idle, but the container was the real source of enjoyment.
While kids love playing with toys, younger kids also love playing with anything you can convince them is a toy.  In the bath, our kids use cups and empty hand soap containers to pour water all over each other.  Don’t try and tell them those aren’t toys.  Don’t get a second mortgage just so your two year old can have a $500 car that drives down the sidewalk.  They could have as much fun in an old wagon.

6. Don’t equate love and money.

There is a way to show love without money.  I’m not anti-gifts, but sometimes there are families that have so distorted their view of gifts that they associate their worth with what they give – they feel insecure if they don’t have the most expensive gift.  Personally, I think giving kids an excessive number of gifts will backfire when they get older.  We already have an instinctive lust for more – there is no need to feed that by over gifting our kids.
My wife and I buy our kids one birthday present each year.  Our oldest is five, and we’ve never heard our kids complain about their gift.  However, grandma and grandpa with aunts and uncles do get the kids their fair share of gifts.  That’s great if others want to bless our kids in that way.

7. Teach your kids to give when they receive.

Every birthday our kids know they have a job – to give away some toys.  As our kids get new toys, we ask them to find old toys to give away.  Since we live in a third world country, it is always easy to find someone who is happy to receive a used toy.  In North America, just ask someone at your church if there are any benevolence opportunities where kids can donate toys.  Parents should always be teaching kids about money.

8. Set expectations.

As parents, I think we can help our kids understand what to expect during the birthday season.  Yes, even when planning a birthday party parents can say, “No. That is too expensive.”  Saying ‘no’ can be as loving as saying ‘yes’.

9. Shop year round.

Time is another great money saving tool.  Often times when we know a birthday is around the corner, we rush out to buy a present.  However, if you are looking for presents in advance, you can often find some much better deals that will help you save money while shopping.  Hey, it’s not too early to start buying Christmas presents.  That is a great way to be able to celebrate a debt free Christmas.  Next time you see clothes for 75% off, go ahead and try and find something for your kids’ birthday.  Remember, you can also shop for other kids early too.

10.  Consider homemade gifts and invitations.

My wife is the homemade gift giving queen.  She has fantastic and creative ideas for presents.  Often times those gifts are more meaningful and a lot less expensive (but they cost more time).  Here are some homemade gift ideas to help you think about some ideas for your own kids.  While I’m writing this article my wife and daughter are making homemade invitations.  They seem to be having a great time.  JWC

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Grampa's Top 10 Memory Improvement Tips

Old duffers like us need every bit of help we can get--as time marches on and our memory becomes more like a sieve.  Here's a guest post that gives some interesting insights into ways to get more out of the gray matter we have left:

Improve Your Memory With These Great Top 10 Tips

By , Guide

Before you study for your next exam, you might want to use a few strategies to boost your memory of important information. There are a number of tried and tested techniques for improving memory. These strategies have been established within cognitive psychology literature and offer a number of great ways to improve memory, enhance recall and increase retention of information.

1. Focus your attention on the materials you are studying.

Attention is one of the major components of memory. In order for information to move from short-term memory into long-term memory, you need to actively attend to this information. Try to study in a place free of distractions such as television, music and other diversions.

2. Avoid cramming by establishing regular study sessions.

According to Bjork (2001), studying materials over a number of session’s gives you the time you need to adequately process the information. Research has shown that students who study regularly remember the material far better that those did all of their studying in one marathon session.

3. Structure and organize the information you are studying.

Researchers have found that information is organized in memory in related clusters. You can take advantage of this by structuring and organizing the materials you are studying. Try grouping similar concepts and terms together, or make an outline of your notes and textbook readings to help group related concepts.

4. Utilize mnemonic devices to remember information.

Mnemonic devices are a technique often used by students to aid in recall. A mnemonic is simply a way to remember information. For example, you might associate a term you need to remember with a common item that you are very familiar with. The best mnemonics are those that utilize positive imagery, humor or novelty. You might come up with a rhyme, song or joke to help remember a specific segment of information.

5. Elaborate and rehearse the information you are studying.

In order to recall information, you need to encode what you are studying into long-term memory. One of the most effective encoding techniques is known as elaborative rehearsal. An example of this technique would be to read the definition of a key term, study the definition of that term and then read a more detailed description of what that term means. After repeating this process a few times, your recall of the information will be far better.

6. Relate new information to things you already know.

When you are studying unfamiliar material, take the time to think about how this information relates to things that you already know. By establishing relationships between new ideas and previously existing memories, you can dramatically increase the likelihood of recalling the recently learned information.

7. Visualize concepts to improve memory and recall.

Many people benefit greatly from visualizing the information they study. Pay attention to the photographs, charts and other graphics in your textbooks. If you do not have visual cues to help, try creating your own. Draw charts or figures in the margins of your notes or use highlighters or pens in different colors to group related ideas in your written study materials.

8. Teach new concepts to another person.

Research suggests that reading materials out loud significantly improves memory of the material. Educators and psychologists have also discovered that having students actually teach new concepts to others enhances understanding and recall. You can use this approach in your own studies by teaching new concepts and information to a friend or study partner.

9. Pay extra attention to difficult information.

Have you ever noticed how it's sometimes easier to remember information at the beginning or end of a chapter? Researchers have found that the position of information can play a role in recall, which is known as the serial position effect. While recalling middle information can be difficult, you can overcome this problem by spending extra time rehearsing this information or try restructuring the information so it will be easier to remember. When you come across an especially difficult concept, devote some extra time to memorizing the information.

10. Vary your study routine.

Another great way to increase your recall is to occasionally change your study routine. If you are accustomed to studying in one specific location, try moving to a different spot to study. If you study in the evening, try to spend a few minutes each morning reviewing the information you studied the previous night. By adding an element of novelty to your study sessions, you can increase the effectiveness of your efforts and significantly improve your long-term recall.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Gramkids Gottawanna! (Grampa can HELP!)

An ad for a Massage Therapy School features a cute brunette pixie telling the camera, "I chose what success looked like to me and they showed me how to get there."  Such a good advertising line has the seeds of success in it.

Youngins including our own, seem to want OUT of a bad employment situation much more than they want IN to a better one.   As I listen to our near and dear pray to, "Get OUT of a tough job--I learn about the gap in their logic. (It's been said that most folks will work harder to hold on to what they've got than gamble on the possibility of reaching out for something better) 

In D&C 9, a revelation informs Oliver Cowdry that not only did he NOT continue as he commenced--he took no thought save it was to ask the Lord to translate the Book of Mormon's Golden Plates.   After watching Joseph Smith "easily" translating the plates as he took dictation, Oliver must have learned a new dimension in heavenly education that "dried up" for him when he did not obey the laws involved in getting the Holy Ghost's help.  There is a bit of a heavenly formula at work here. Sudy it out in your own mind, make a decision and take it to the Lord in prayer.  Then he will either confirm it with a warm feeling (Burning in the bosom) or a Stupor of Thought.   In that formula the GOTTAWANNA precedes the Study step.

Suffering often precedes the Faith that precedes the Miracle!

Gramkids suffering from low resources and skint income--sometimes learn that if they pay their tithing, obeying the laws of wealth and heavenly partnership--they find their wallet blossoming in unexpected ways.  For many, money dribbles in year in year out--and the lessons goes unlearned--angst builds--drinking, smoking, discouragement all increase... It's wantin' out---with no willingness to wanna learn the truth about real wealth and getting in.

The late LDS President Ezra Taft Benson, former secretary of Agriculture in the Eisenhower Administration once shared the secret of escaping this pigmy thinking:

“The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.”

That principle of choosing a path and following direction is more powerful in a Grampa-Mentor-Gramkid Follower relationship than stumbling around alone in a well meant but superficial and feeble effort.

Bumper sticker philosophy applies:  DISTRACTIONS ARE DANGEROUS.  Though this three word warning applies more to driving than life planning--the danger of distractions is the opportunity cost that stall better life plans while gramkids (and gramparents) chase the flibbertygibbits and fly-by-nights!

How does a Great Grampa take the slum-like thinking of ESCAPE  and turn it to POSITIVE PROGRESS?  Section 9---Study it out by listening and discussing options in kindness.  Proper goal setting and better crafted prayers and follow up--these all figure in.   Remember a good idea is only a wish until it's written down--When a written goal is combined with a plan--leaning forward --progress begins!

Rather than yearn to escape the tough job situation, we've learned to talk about the top three companies where the job seeker would really like to work.  Thank takes Faith, imagination, research--in short HARD WORK. (The sad reality in this age of instant resume transmission  is that unemployed or wanna-be-better-employed send out a wide net of resumes only to be rejected for months and months.)  Hoping for the right job to open up is leaning backward.   A "leaning forward" plan works far better.  Stealthy job seekers should take a page out of the CIA--and "go to school" on at least three companies that have the the job they want--whether it's currently filled or not.

The Co-anchor of the Number 1 KSL Local news in Salt Lake City,  Nadine (Deenie) Wimmer did it this way--  She decided she wanted to work in broadcasting.  She found out the best station with the best salary and benefits.  In her study (a class project at the University of Utah) she learned that entry level assignment editors and reporters got a chance to anchor on weekends and, if they were good enough, could become a high paid local anchor star.

Deenie's strategy after all the research, was to build a "contact" on the inside--and she used the Chinese Water Treatment method.  Every two or three days, she would call the assignment editor and ask for a job on the assignment desk.   The first thirty or forty times she got a cold shoulder and a courteous, "Oh, it's you again..." treatment.   Slowly her persistence began to make an impact. 

Finally after a month and a half of regular calls from Deenie,  the Assignment Editor changed her mind.  "OK, Deenie---I've thought about it--and if you're this persistent as a job seeker--you'll do well working here.   Promise me one thing, though.  If you come down today and fill out an application, will you promise not to call me any more?"  They both laughed...and Deenie was "IN"  She's been principal anchor at 6 and 10 for the last ten years--including anchoring local coverage of the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002.  (Her brother in law shared with me some inside information--that management was thinkin' of replacing her and bringing in a "name" for the international event.  They never did!)

So how do you actually help the older child pull off such an employment miracle?  The key is a christlike virtue for you to improve in practice--It's all about changing one special mind to think "THINK FORWARD!" enough to pick three ideal companies and  "KINDLY FOLLOW UP!" in building an inside friend and launching Chinese Water Torture.  

(As much as the head gets it---it takes a while for the heart to buy in---and the skill level to be ABLE to do the kind of diplomacy and proactive follow up--for some folks, this may just be TOO HARD!  Maybe they need to suffer under the old ineffectual system ) 


Instead of raising your voice over the blare of the TV--and using that Inquisative Interogative tone in a negative, guilt loading way---try turning the TV off and letting the kid get whatever is on his chest---OFF! 


2.  REALLY LISTEN--for clues about the direction of the job search--and lovely distractions that may be getting in the way.

3.  BOB AND WEAVE WITH CARING QUESTIONS that help encourage the heart to recommit to the 3 company water torture follow-up process

4.  ONLY GIVE ADVICE WHEN ASKED--then make it short--even in Question Form.   Leading the witness is only technically wrong in a court of law.  Anything that gets a child of any age to come to a conclusion--a new resolution---that's just fine.  

5. KINDLY  LISTEN TO THE HEART FIRST--then the head!  It's all about the relationship you have nurtured for so long.  The best relationship scripture I know is the 121st section of the Doctrine and Covenants.  It is the best key to avoid nagging and building great relationships for success.   In verse 43 below, what is it that greatly enlarges the Soul (of both the Grampa and the Gramkid?)

  42 By KINDNESS, and pure knowledge, which shall GREATLY ENLARGE THE SOUL without hypocrisy, and without guile
  43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
  44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.

Nagging is pulling up the flowers to see how the roots are doing--but the selected  flowers die in the process.

Dear pediatrician neighbor  John Siddoway dropped by one winters night making up for our regular home teacher.   the kids were teenagers who loved him.  He'd examined them and treated them ...His lesson was mostly for the parents...and Rosie and I got this message.   When he had our full attention he knelt down on the carpet and encouraged the kids to do the same.  He pulled a little six inch cord out of his pocket.

"What's the best way to move the string ?  he asked us.  "Can you push the string to get it to move as you wish?" Then he pushed the string with his finger. It just bunched up and lay there on the carpet.

Ever the teacher, Brother Dr. John asked the kids, "What do you think is the best way to move the string?"  Somewhere between the end of his formal medical schooling and that day,  John had learned a valuable teaching and sales tool ---'HELP THE STUDENT/PROSPECT DISCOVER THE SOLUTION AND SAY IT OUT LOUD!  Sally blurted out, "Pull it! 

"Yes, that's right!  Does that same principle work in relationships --like between you and your folks?"

"Jeff spoke up--"It does--I hate to be pushed."   Dr. John tried to keep a straight face..."Well that's something you could talk about after I leave-- Could we say a word of prayer?

What an excellent, brief lesson that got us thinkin'. 

Sometimes we are afraid to break out of the nagging-guilt loading that almost always leads to failure.

FEAR is an acronymn:  False Evidence Appearing Real.  All fear does is prevent you from making progress toward your dreams.

At this writing, Lindsay Lohan has just been sentenced to 90 days in jail (Like her cruisin' buddy Paris Hilton), and come to think of it, like Martha Stewart--for other excesses.  Jail can sometimes give an opportunity for sober reflection.  It's an adult time out.

Lindsay Lohan ---  The time to "fix" the problem that's landed the young starlet-corowser in jail for 90 days---was back before she re-made the Parent Trap.  Back when Vitamin N (NO) would have made a difference and taught the young star how to apply some of Vitamin N to herself!    Interesting that an expert in courtroom behavior believes that Lohan is only bitter and vindictive--not truly feeling.  Her only un-bidden tears were when the gavel came down on the session and she realized that she would be out of circulation! 

Where's the trusted Grampa in that situation? JWC

Grampa's College Essay (LOL)

OK--this isn't really my College Essay (Boy, do I wish it was!)   There will come a time when Junior is going to need to write one of these dreaded things.  Reading this aloud to him (or Missy) will provoke a relieved chuckle and clear the tension building around this high hurdle for college admission

This is an actual essay written by a college applicant. The author, Hugh Gallagher, now attends NYU.


I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row.

I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.

Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I’m bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.

I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear.

I don’t perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I bat .400. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.

I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy.

I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down.

I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven. I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.

But I have not yet gone to college.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Permanent House Guests of Pain

This is not a blog post about that time honored statement about relatives my dad taught me when I was young--quoting Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac: "Fish and visitors smell in three days."  They seem to, but anyone who ever watched Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau in the second Grumpy old men movie know that fish have to planted with stealth in your neighbor's car.  Visitors just show up---!

No, I'm not about telling stories about our Army buddies Dennis and Beth who always seemed to show up with all their hungry kids in tow just about dinner time---without calling--just, "Hi, howahya? and by the way, What's for supper?.

And I'm not going to chuckle with you about Ta and Jayne's Samoan friends, though it is worth mentioning that my most hospitable friends throw open their home to any Samoan who shows up--for as long as they like.  Jayne and Ta both work and they're happy to feed and house folks who beat a path to their door.  (I'm guessing that Samoans pass their names about like golden tickets to America.  "Be sure and stop at Ta and Jayne's in Utah!  They're good for at least a couple of weeks.    

Ta chuckled that he came home from work last Wednesday just after the enterprising neighbor kids had dropped off Ta and Jayne's subscription loaf of fresh baked whole wheat bread.   James, the delivery boy (and 7 year old co-owner of the Bread Subscription Service) had left two loaves by mistake. 

Well his house guests could not resist the aroma--and dived in to devour the first loaf--and were just about to dig into #2, when Ta came home and gently, but firmly redirected their attention back to the well stocked refrigerator.  Suddenly James, ever the responsible young man cam back for the second loaf.  Ta offered to buy it, but James stuck to his guns, "No, this loaf belonged to someone else!  Ta shrugged, handed over the coveted loaf and just gave up on having any fresh bread that week...

No this isn't about House Guests who overstay their welcome---its about Chuck Chainsaw, Nellie Knees and Millie Migrane--who run foot races on an ongoing conveyer belt of pain inside Gramma Rosie.

Chuck has put her back to bed for a nap in lieu of pain.  If we knew what to do about sending him away we would--but irritable bowel syndrome is just ---well, just irritable.  Gramma is robust and jolly most of the time.  She's laughing more than ever before...but when Chuck brings along Millie Migrane Rosie knows just how to handle both of them.   

Years ago her doctor suggested that a little caffiene would open up her blood vessels and cut down on the migrane pain.  She told Rosie to see her bishop and get special permission to drink coffee as a medication once in a while.  Bishop Black, one of Rosie's closest friends and a former employer gave permission--so Millie's visits every three or four weeks are occasions to brew up some "battery acid" and take it for the pain.   It doesn't completely take it away, but it does take the edge off the pain.

Funny how Gramma Rosie uses the glass half empty thought process to try and "guilt" me into doing my chores.   We have a little money in the bank, so we're not weighing every penny and waiting for the next Social Security Check.    We're not wealthy--but we're not skimping and scraping either.

Here conversation began this morning, after my walk and swim, "You don't have any money, do you---guess we're screwed.  We've got to order in Chinese for Donald's visit tonight--and you have all your money to Jeff last night for dinner at Arbies----Guess we're out of luck."

Smiling, I put it back to her.  As a teacher I thoroughly enjoy helping a student frame a problem and then challenging them to find a solution.  (What would you do to solve that problem if I were no where around?)

The key to this process is the courage to keep your mouth shut as the professor and lean on them psychologically to get on with the solution.  (So many of my students take this hang dog "I'm so screwed" approach to problems.  That defeatest attitude closes off possible solutions and discourages WHY NOT thinking.  I'm hoping to teach that it's easier and much more productive long term to make the solution a game--a test of intelligence that you cheerfully accept and go about solving with a smile trying every option you can think.

Back to Gramma Rosie.  She is so much like what my great dad turned into in his later years..Both of them are (and in my great Dad's case) and were affected by the Que Sera Sera philosophy of Doris Day.   What will be will be.    

On the other hand, I've operated on the philosophy that if it's gonna be it's up to me!   Can you see the difference.  It's the difference between Passive and Active---between being a Secondary Reactor and a Primary Actor.   Reactors don't get much done they want to-- they spend most all their time reacting to what people will think--how to keep the precious status quo--get out of work and do just enough so the boss doesn't toss you out.

Illness turns you into a reactor.   We used to kid that Rosie had the Sunday Flu---that nigh abouts midnight on Saturday night, she'd get a wild hair to clean out a closet or stay up tending the dish washer til 2 or 3 in the morning--and of course morning church was out of the question.

In the same way that Laman and Lemuel didn't get to be the saavages they ended up becoming, Rosie doesn't mean to skip church every Sunday.   Her Sunday flu thanks to Chuck and Millie and Nellie have developed a painful...and yet comfortable pattern that she is loath to break out of.   She will take her turn in scripture study--give a sincere and caring prayer and discuss spiritual things.  She has a great testimony--but the Sunday Flu is more of a test of patience for me, I've finally concluded.

Oh, she'll make it to church one day--when our annual rotation ends  in the afternoon--and either in late spring or early fall--when it's not too cold or too hot--and she can wear something that's not to light or too heavy--and, finally, when she can sit way in the back as far away from the dread vibrating organ pipes--to which she is absolutely allergic.

When we were first married, Rosie was invited to teach a little primary class with the dread bully Becky Turner, outspoken daughter of a BYU religion professor.    Rosie as a new convert had a hard time dealing with Becky's condemnation of the Catholic Church her older Brother was fighting against in Mexico at the time--and I don't think she's had a church assignment of an substance since.

Her mother rarely went to heir neighborhood catholic parish church.  Her dad had converted from being a nominal baptist to a lapsed Catholic to marry Mary Louise, Rosie's sweet mom.  Her devotion to things spiritual comes from an intense loyalty to the nuns who nurtured her at St. Patricks where she went through the early grades and both junior and high school.  (She occasionally prays in "Catholic" as I pray in Portugese)  Her habits include crossing herself when she hears an ambulance or fire siren and saying a little prayer for injured unknowns.

How many times have I beat the dead horse of her inactivity in the kingdom with the story of the little English Charwoman who saved her money for a steerage passage to America on a grand Ocean Liner?    The older woman had misunderstood--and when time for meals came, she reverted to her cabin to eat a few cheese and cracker meals.    She longed to have at least one grand meal with her glittering fellow passengers--so she reworked a skint budget and on the last night of the cruise wore her humble little best dress to the grand dining room.

The Captain made a special point of welcoming her by name--and asking about her health.  The management afloat had concluded that she was ill for much of the voyage.   She stammered another version of that old excuse...and finally came clean with the Captain--as he escorted her to his table as an honored guest.

"I didn't figure I had enough to pay for my ticket and afford all the meals during the crossing, Captain", she began.  He interuupted her, "But, ma'am someone should have told you--all the meals were included in the price of your ticket!"

On one level, Rosie gets it--that would be the level of the head--but in her heart she combines her sour experience with a bragadocio 7 year old in Provo with some goody two shoes sisters in their gaberdine Relief Socieity Uniform jumpers gossiping with every good intention, but still exchanging maloderous little insinuations about an unknown sister....and she stays home.

The Bishop and I invite the two elders assigned to bring the Sacrament to the homebound to visit here after church--and she has really come to love and appreciate them.  She loves her Visiting teachers and Home Teachers....but atually going there is still outside the realm of possibility, even under the best of circumstances.

I used to get a little testy when she'd skip her "duties" at the ward on Sunday and on Monday, she was off to the races--shopping and traveling, buying and solving our domestic challenges as actively as any woman can be with arthritic knees and a clear plastic TUBULAR CANE!

I wish her well.   I love her.   I wish she would enjoy the great "meals" of rubbing shoulders with so many of my good friends at church--but I'm prepared to assume that it will never happen!     JWS

" I

Guilt rarely works with me and Gramma Rosie rarely meets a problem with optimism and the game of solution like I do.    Once again there is one in every marriage who does and one who doesn't.    Opposites attract?  They do at 4534 Holladay Boulevard!   

Monday, July 5, 2010

Grampa builds his own Personal Swamp Cooler

Unbelieving friends have asked me how I can stand to wear a full beard and longer and longer hair in July on the way to December and honest to goodness Santa Service with my own whiskers.

Often, I laugh and explain that the long locks and chin thatch act as a swamp cooler for my head--and beyond the humor, the principle "works".  I've discovered as part of my BODY GRAMPUNCULAR self studies that when I walk vigorously, working to keep up with my Walking Buddy, Tim, I perspire and I get cooler under the self grown facial hair.

Gramma Rosie often puts a fozen cold pack in a light towel and leans up against it on the couch during the hottest days of the summer--and specific cold applied to the nerve center at the base of the neck cools her off.  Like so much of what happens with it, it may be psychosomatic--but what ever it is, it works.  I've tried it, and it works for me, too!

Now to the personal  full body swamp cooler. Lately my grampuncular studies have led to folding a big fluffy bath towell on the bottom of my office chair and soaking it with water---room temperature at first, and then refridgerated.  Sitting on that gasp producing excitement has cooled me off in record time.

I know it's done it's job when I start to chill a little bit.

This morning I tried covering the back of the chair with a big trash bag (to avoid mildew) and soaking another big bath towell, squeezing out the excess water to avoid dripping on my chair pad, and then draping it on the seat and over the back.

The thrill when you first sit down is like diving into a cold mountain lake--not a bad sensation when it's muggy outside and in.   The body eventually warms up the contact points--but the instantly chilling result is quite satisfactory.

Part of my personal effort to diminish my personal carbon footprint has been to save Pepsi bottles and chill water in a stash of them in my little refrigerator , here at the Grampuncular Command post.  When the damp towel warms up--and it's still hot--I'll refresh the back and seat and enjoy another cold mountain lake plunge process when I sit down again.   Hoorah for evaporation! JWC

Friday, July 2, 2010

Is Grampa too far ahead--or too way behind?

The first time I became aware of a "concern" was on a flight to Utah from Brazil.  I was in my early twenties--excited to be coming home--and excited to actually be visiting in English with Americans.    The acres of formica and steam heat at JFK seemed suddenly so foreign to me--and yet so welcoming home.   It was December.  I'd left a steamy hemisphere of dirt runways and flouishing palms---to come back to New York, brusque people and oceans of freezing slush.

I don't remember preaching to a young American couple across from me on the plane, but I must have talked their most courteous ears off.    Our parting could not have come soon enough for them.

I didn't realize I was a bit too bipolar for the average American bear!  Years later I was diagnosed with Hypermania--a junior version of the grown up version of the pervasive Bi-Polar malady that afflicts depressed then mantic souls in such a sad pendulum swinging way!   Lithium once a day, now, has kept me "regulated" without sacrificing my creativity.

I heard just the other day on K BYU that composer Robert Schumann spend many of his later days in an asylum -- depressed and suffering-- having come down from the dizzying heights of his brilliant creative musical career.  Gee, I hope it never comes to that for me.

Average Joes and Janes take a look at my beard and my sometimes over enthusiasic eyes...and they either think Weird Crackpot or Cute Santa.  I've learned its not too good to be too far out in front of the crowd.

Yesterday we suffered pretty comfortably through the hottest day of the year watching a marvelous version of the Passion of Christ titled simply, JESUS.   The little known actor who played the Savior of the World danced, gently interacted with his fellow humans and did it just about the way I would have expected my heavenly older brother and advocate with the Father would have done it on the earth  back in the day---with classic MEEKNESS--- Tremendous power under complete control.    I recommend it to you.

Was he too far out ahead of "the power curve" in real life.  Yes!  The Pharasees and Saducees wanted him gone.  The Romans were willing to go along--in this case out of boredom and sport. (a Roman politician close to Pilate stages a cruelly hilarious pastiche complete with masks and fake beards--that tips Pilate's hand--that the crucifiction of Jesus was as much for his own entertainment and mounting a grand internal drama for a day or two--as it was the more serious portrayal of the Telly Savalas Version in Zefferilli's Greatest Story Ever Told.

Robert Byrd is being remembered today.  He was orphaned, worked at a hodge podge of trades and found a gift for public speaking.  After being elected to Congress he went to night school -- won the Senate Seat from West Virginia and then went to Law school at night.  At 92 he has the distinction of being the longest serving member of the Senate in history---more than 50 years!   He typifies the best Congress has to offer-- a humble man who learned the system and not only served as a conscience of the Senate--but it's Majority leader twice--and Porker Grand Champion.

More highways and federal facilities have been built with either his name or his influence in West Virginia than anywhere else in America.   (He is what Bob Bennett is referring to when he talks about the uphill battle Mike Lee will likely have regaining Bennett's tenure and respect in the "Upper Body"   He who would change the system, must first learn to work effectively in it.  Not too far out ahead, certainly not too far behind...  Robert Byrd sent Thank you Notes for the Thank you Notes he got from other Senators.    Senatorial Courtesy.

It's said that Barak Hussein Obama arrived a newly minted Senator from Illinois and learned how far he'd have to go to become a Robert Byrd style influential Senator--and went straight for the White House.   It's the old lions of the Senate that control purse strings and legislation that get signed into law as much in a squeeze play as in justice for all.

Robert Byrd used to celebrate his annivesary in part with the ever growing buckets of white roses delivered to his Senate Office in the old SOB-- (Russell Senate Office  Building) by his dear friend and fellow democrat Ted Kennedy.   Though he never followed JFK in the White House or his next oldest brother RFK on the road to that powerful place on Pennsylvania Avenue, Young Teddy came to the Senate at 35--barely old enough to be elected...and stayed til his death last year.   His impact, especially on social legislation will be rembmered long after the lesser Presidents are forgotten.  He learned to be in the accepted middle, headed upward and onward.  Certainly, my goal.  JWH

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Things are Comin' up GREEN in Grampa's Garden

Thought you'd enjoy sharing our enthusiasm at the miracle of the Law of the Harvest.   Our Jeff has dived into passionate gardening and in a few weeks, we plan some amazing Tomato Sandwiches--and Vegetable Stir Frys---Heck, we may just eat some of the fruits of his labor right off the stem!  

Thanks to our Green Thumbed neighbor Melissa Hilton who nurtured some of these plants in her marvelous greenhouse during a cool spring   

We are excited at the prospect of a lush harvest.   By September you'd be welcome to initiate a visit for an impromptu garden nosh!  (SWK would be so proud!) 

Much love--Jon, for the Gardeners at our house at this end of Holladay.  No need for the downtown Farmer's Market this year!

Rich Sam Walton Blew it with his Family, especially his own Gramkids!

A Big Money Lesson from Wal-Mart’s Sam Walton
Originally Posted: 30 Jun 2010 09:53 AM PDT
Guest Blog from Christian Personal Finance Blogger Bob

Recently I came across an article about Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart. It was a very interesting read and I found some things I never knew.

After doing a little further digging about Wal-Mart I found an article quoting George Will, who had this to say about the company:
“[They] are the most prodigious job-creator in the history of the private sector. It has almost as many employees (1.3 million) as the U.S. military has uniformed personnel. A McKinsey company study concluded that Wal-Mart accounted for 13 percent of the nation’s productivity gains in the second half of the 1990s, which probably made Wal-Mart about as important as the Federal Reserve in holding down inflation.

Wal-Mart and its effects save shoppers more than $200 billion a year, dwarfing such government programs as food stamps ($28.6 billion) and the earned-income tax credit ($34.6 billion). People who buy their groceries from Wal-Mart save at least 17 percent.”
Wal-Mart is a huge and powerful corporation that was built from the ground up.

Sam Walton Had It All

Sam Walton got his start in the retail business by operating a Ben Franklin variety retail store. With a $20,000 loan from his Father-in-Law and $5,000 of his own savings, Walton started the store and used concepts that no one was employing at the time, which made him wildly successful.

He constantly kept the shelves stocked with low-priced goods, stayed open later hours especially around the holidays and would buy in large volumes so he could get discounts on his cost of goods, which tranlsated to lower prices for his customers.

The first Wal-Mart was opened in 1962 and Walton went on to become one of the most well-known entrepreneurs of our modern age.

He was always battling for one of the top spots on the Forbes Rich List (He was the richest man in the United States from 1982-1988).

By the world’s standards, this man had it all!

He started the largest-retail chain in America from the ground up. He was rich. He wanted to help people by creating stores that served the lower-income population. He could buy anything in the world any time he wanted and yet there was something missing.

Sam Walton’s Biggest Regret

Sam Walton, on his death bed, admitted something very frightening that should send shivers down our spines. He admitted that he had blown it.

What exactly had he blown?

Was it not taking advantage of opening more stores? Or maybe he could’ve made even more money had he tried some different tactics? Maybe there was a big scandal that he kept secret for years.
No, it wasn’t any of those things. Instead, Walton was referring to the fact that he blew it with his family!

Walton – one of the richest men in America – admitted that he barely knew his youngest son and that he even neglected his grandchildren. His wife stayed with him out of commitment. He admitted he spent way too much time investing into his business rather than spending time with those who mattered most – his own family!

Can you imagine?

An American tycoon, a business genius – admitting that he wasted his life! Perhaps he should’ve detached himself from his money.

Instead, he wasted precious moments that could’ve been spent with his wife and children. He wasted opportunities to build memories and leave a legacy worth far more than his multi-billion dollar empire!

And for what? Money, conquest, success?

Walton realized, as he approached those final days, none of that mattered now. None of it was as important
as his family.

What This Means For Us

You may not create a business empire, but you will have plenty of opportunity to sacrifice time with your families to pursue wealth, build a business, make money from a blog, improve your golf game, work on your hobbies, climb the corporate ladder or whatever else it is that ends up draining time away from your family.
Are any of those things wrong in and of themselves? NO!

Was Sam Walton’s business and his empire wrong in and of itself? No.

What was wrong with Walton, sadly, is that he didn’t realize until it was too late that the quality of your close relationships is what matters most.

As Christians we know that the quality of our relationships, pursuing our passions by using the gifts God has given to us, and living out the mission He has for us are the most important things in life!
So, I have to ask you – just like I ask myself:
  • Do you think money is the answer to all your problems?
  • Are you spending too much time at the office?
  • Are you wasting your life?
  • Do you wish the quality and quantity time with your wife, your kids and your loved ones was better?
  • If so, why? What is more important to you than the time with your family?
Don’t wait til you are on your deathbed to realize what Sam Walton realized!
Make your life count today and leave a legacy that is worth more than any trust fund you’ll leave your children!

What Are Your Thoughts?