Pondering on what I am thankful for, I realized that a lot of what I have today is a direct result of my family’s influence, which provided a lot of advantages for me. Not to say that having advantages gets you anywhere. Many people have advantages that have not been utilized. Others were born into adversity that they overcame to create a great life and a new legacy.
Today I’d like to thank my family for giving me a great start in life. The person I am today is a byproduct of growing up under the influence of my family.
My father worked hard to provide for our family. Although his salary as a butcher wasn’t large, borrowing money was not something he liked and therefore he kept our family’s spending in check. In fact, my parents still live in the house they bought during my first year of life. This man was a great example of what a father should be. He was involved in whatever interested his kids. When my brother and I wanted to play baseball, he became the coach. When I started a band at age 13 and needed transportation to and from gigs, my dad was there with his truck. He made many sacrifices for our family, such as taking time off work to watch my brother and my sporting events, even though he really didn’t have the money to take time off work. My teammates noticed his faithful support of his children. Thanks dad, for providing an example of financial stewardship and showing me what it takes to be a good father.
I was lucky to have a mother who worked hard to see that her kids got what they needed. When we were young, she was home caring for all our needs. When we were older, she held down a job to contribute to the finances of the family. Like my dad, she also made a point to be at our events to cheer us on. I was at a class reunion recently and many of my classmates wanted me to say hello to my mother for them. They remember her helping where she could with school activities. When my brother and I needed new shoes for upcoming sporting seasons, she took us shopping to get them. We always had what we needed to do the activities we loved. Every evening mom always put a hearty meal on the table for her family. Thanks mom for providing what we needed to feel loved and secure at home.
Grandpop was a hard worker who climbed the ladder from millwright to superintendent of a saw mill. He was literally a fix-it man. He had every type of tool you could think of in the garage and could fix just about anything. I learned a lot about auto repair from him. He also loved to get down on the ground and play with his grandkids. He was a lot of fun to be with. I loved to sit on his lap and read the children’s book, Doctor Goat, which is probably why I became a physician. Thanks for leading me into medicine and showing me that I could repair anything that comes up in my life.
Grammy taught me to bowl in grade school, as she happened to be a youth bowling coach. I learned from her that anything could be done well with a little effort. She taught me how to practice and become great at what I do. I ended up becoming the second or third ranked bowler in the league thanks to her coaching. I later was on the Stanford bowling team. During bowling season I stayed over on Friday nights with her and bowled in the league the next morning. She went into action when she learned that I was not doing well in spelling, and every time I came over, we worked on spelling until I could spell all the words correctly. She was of the belief that if they give me the words ahead of time, there was no excuse for misspelling them on the test. My job was to study until I actually learned those words. It was not the amount of time spent practicing that counted, it was mastery of the task. Thanks for teaching me that I could master anything I set my mind to.
Grandpa began buying real estate investments when I was just a baby. Often, he took me with him when he would fix things at his rentals. By helping my grandpa I learned a lot about household repairs. He is the reason I felt comfortable managing my own apartments when I began to follow in his footsteps as a real estate investor. He also had a passion for fishing. Not much would get in the way of him going to the river to catch salmon when they were running. He continued to take time to enjoy his hobbies even when things got busy. It was his way of staying sane. Thanks for teaching me about real estate investing and to always spend time doing something that I love to relieve stress. Life shouldn’t be all about work, it is important to also take time to do things you enjoy just for fun.
Grandma was a very giving person. She would give you her last dollar if she thought it would make a difference in your life. She loved to give gifts at Christmas and birthdays. When I was away at college, she often sent me money and told me that she was thinking about me. She worried that I might need some extra cash. Family was a priority to her and many family reunions were held at her house. When I was a child, every Sunday she picked me up and took me to church with her. I believe I am a Christian today because of her influence and love. Thanks for teaching me to give and bringing me to Christ.
As you can see, I was a lucky guy. I grew up surrounded by people who wanted the best for me. They taught me the tools I needed to become successful in life. I often wonder how my life would have turned out if I had been born into a family without a work ethic and a good moral compass.
On this Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful to my parents and grandparents for showing me how to make the most of my life. Their legacy lives on in me and has contributed to me having a bright financial future, staying married to my wife for the last 31 years, and raising well-grounded children who are now great young adults themselves.
My family’s legacy continues on to the next generation and hopefully for many generations to come. I owe almost everything to the examples my family provided. I am thankful to have had them inspire my life.