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EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is George Bailey's weekly report "Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch" about he and his wife's efforts to teach their kids financial freedom.
One of the fun aspects of interviewing family members on the podcast is that I've been getting a better sense of my own family's identity. Although I absolutely love the stories that other guests share on the show, the stories I get from family members naturally get more closely to the heart of who I am, who my wife is, and the legacy that we're striving to pass to our children. My sister Maureen's stories were particularly poignant to me because I lived so many of the same experiences. I take pride in these stories on a different level.
Even before I interviewed Christina's Uncle John, I knew that he had good stories to tell. His children and other relatives on Christina's side would tell me, "Be sure to ask him about selling magazines as a child." Hints of this tale came up often enough that I knew that it was going to be epic. And if you haven't had the chance to listen to John's telling, stop reading here and listen to the podcast (start at about 8:32); you won't regret it!
I've now shared John's story with a large number of professionals in my business network. Just telling his story, I've become the life of the party ("Where would you be without other people's exciting stories?" — Asclepius, the pet snake). We all agree that John's mother and grandmother's handling of his "business" was the epitome of blackbelt childrearing—even better than a father who punishes his son who has just discovered how "cool" smoking is by forcing him to inhale a full pack in a short amount of time.
I'm pretty fervently opposed to porn. If my own kids had been selling the stuff off to their elementary school classmates, I would never have had the presence of mind to react like John's mom. More likely, I would have banished them to the attic for a week where their lives would have been sustained on a steady diet of fish heads. My children would not have taken the punishment well and would likely continue tormenting me with idiotic decisions. Good thing we have no attic. Or fish heads.
Having now heard about John's mom and grandma bringing their A-game, I feel inspired, like I've been given a new tool. The next time my kid does something phenomenally dumb, I'm going to take a breath, leave the room, and come back 10 minutes later with a solution that will remind the child that I'm a force to reckon with.
To John's mom and grandmother, you are both complete bosses. Whether or not you are heroes to the child whose business practices you straightened out, you're most certainly a hero to this here parent.