I grew up thinking we were rich. I suppose if you only counted money and such, my belief could have easily been challenged. My Dad and Mom worked hard and consistently made a good living but "being rich" would have been a stretch by most counts.
However, the feeling of "being rich" has prevailed for my entire life. And that feeling of "being rich" has served me well, pulling me through a few rough patches here and there. I've made peace with this rich feeling and am pretty sure I know where it came from. My Dad lived one of the richest lives of anyone I have ever known.
Dad loved being outside: gardening, cutting wood, hauling stuff in his old truck from point A to point B, selling produce off the back of his truck, delivering vegetables from his garden to friends and neighbors. Mom would pack a sack lunch, and he would frequently lay down in the grass and take a little nap after lunching. I just don't think it gets any better than that.
Dad hatched many entrepreneurial ventures and saw several of them through with the help of his partner, my mom. Where others saw problems, dad saw opportunities. One of my favorite memories is when dad decided to start a worm farm. That one didn't fly for some reason, but he was awfully excited about it for a while.
Dad was not one to force his philosophy on others or even talk much about it. Instead he just lived his life and allowed his children and grandchildren to draw their own conclusions. I have pondered my dad's way of living for some time and I'm pretty sure he would not want me to be writing about this stuff. Still, I write. And at the risk of really running off the track, I've even attempted to boil my rich dad's values down to a top ten list. I guess I will have to beg for forgiveness the next time I see him.
- Enough is enough. Keep it simple. Take time to appreciate, enjoy and share what you have.
- You don't have to like someone to be respectful of them. Respect is not optional, and that includes self-respect.
- Always believe in and expect the best from others, and they will rarely let you down.
- Take time to share and embellish stories under the stars at night. And don't forget to nap under the big blue sky after lunch.
- Invest time and energy in helping others grow. Apart from gardening, nothing is more fun.
- Celebrate success, or progress, no matter how small it may seem. Be sure to let those working for you or with you know how much you appreciate them.
- Never feel sorry for yourself. Self-pity is a luxury that no one can afford.
- There is always something to be thankful for. Find it, and express your sincere gratitude.
- Take a small adventure and make a huge production out of it. It's more memorable that way. One of dad's favorite adventures was getting the Christmas tree every year. Kids and grandkids would come from all over the country to go into the woods and find just the right tree.
- You don't have to talk about your values, just live them.
Right before Dad passed he wanted me to know that he regretted he would not be leaving huge amounts of money behind. I tried to assure Dad that he would be leaving my mom, his children and grandchildren the richest and most abundant inheritance of all in "what matters most."
Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for my "rich" dad and the ever present feeling of "being rich" that he lived and modeled for us. My dad taught me that it can't all be measured on an income statement and balance sheet, and that it definitely is not subject to a recession.