This Father’s Day, we decided to have some of the fathers here at Modern Wealth Management reflect on their experiences. From relationships with their fathers and grandfathers to sacrifices and rewards of fatherhood, it’s experiences like these that mold us.
Father’s Day Reflection:
Founder & CEO, Father of Five
When I think about Father’s Day, I think about my father and grandfather’s influence in my life and my role as a father to my five children. Many of the things I do today and the reasons I am who I am are attributable to my father and grandfather.
Let’s start with my grandfather. From the time my four brothers and I were very young, we would spend weekends with our grandparents. Grandad didn’t have any sons, so he took a real interest in his five grandsons.
Weekends with Grandad
In the morning, we would head out to the golf course to teach us how to golf. “Golf,” he said, “is a game of mental toughness, a game where you are always trying to improve and would never be perfect.” What a lesson for life itself. Today I apply that lesson in every aspect of my life from personal to business. I know life is a game of mental toughness and will never be perfect.
I’ve tried very hard to instill mental toughness in my own five children. As I write this, I have four college grads and one to go. It has been difficult watching them have to develop that mental toughness. Sometimes it was next to impossible trying not to jump in and rescue them. Then I remember Grandad’s rules: always try to improve and understand that nothing will ever be perfect.
Fishing for Patience
In the afternoon, we would head out to the local fishing hole, and he taught us to fish. “Fishing,” he said, “requires patience.” Something most young boys have very little of. Fishing also requires persistence; you have to keep trying different things until you find out what works. Even then, some days, you just don’t catch any fish. Today, I apply the lessons learned not only while I’m fishing but also in the rest of my personal and professional life. Now, I’ve taught all five of my children to fish. Teaching them the patience and persistence it takes and how those things will apply to their lives in the future.
In the evening, we would learn to shoot and hunt. Grandad was a safety stickler and believed if you followed all of the safety rules and respected the gun, you would be safe. To this day, no matter what I am doing, I always ask, “What could go wrong?” And I make sure to apply safety and security to all aspects of my personal and business life.
Hard Work and Sacrifice
Now to my father, I can’t imagine what he and my mother had to go through to raise five boys. They were married very young and didn’t have an opportunity to go to college. So many of the years of my youth Dad worked more than one job to make ends meet. This meant there were times he would be gone to work before we woke up and didn’t come home till after we were in bed. What my dad did and what he sacrificed was an unspoken lesson; you do whatever it takes!
Over the years, he became a successful regional sales manager and was able to retire in his early 60’s. He taught me to work hard and save part of everything you make. Don’t use credit cards and don’t buy things that you cant afford. Know the difference between what you NEED and what you WANT. I learned discipline from my Father. He always said, “Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability, and you will go far in this world.”
As I reflect on Father’s Day, I realize I owe much of the man I am today to both my father and my grandfather. They have both passed, and I miss them every day. That’s why I make an effort to spend as much time with my five adult children as possible. I want to help shape their lives in the right way, and I want their memories of me to be as good as mine are about my father and grandfather.
Happy Father’s Day to all the Fathers out there!
Father’s Day Reflection:
Partner, Father of Four
My birthday is November 27, 1964. In late November of 1987, my wife was due to have our first child. I was so hopeful that this child would be born my birthday, I couldn’t stand it. I mean, having a child is an amazing gift from God, but sharing birthdays (I thought) would make it that much more special. From the time we found out the baby was on its way, I knew that my life was about to change forever. I couldn’t imagine how much.
Boating and Babies
In the summer of 1985, we had purchased the first brand new boat I’d ever owned, and we took it to Clinton Lake every evening after work and every weekend as well. We would ski for hours on end with my brothers and friends, or just cruise and enjoy a cold adult beverage when my mom and dad were out with us. It was a small boat, a 16 foot Bayliner Bow Rider with an 85HP Force outboard motor. But it was mine, and I loved it. I had gotten bit by the lake bug from as early as I could remember, which was when my father had a small (maybe 14′) runabout that we would ride in on Lake Dallas.
My mom would tell the story of how dad had scared the snot out of me on that boat when I was only 4 or 5 years old, but all I remember was loving the lake and boats from then on. The following summer, we purchased our first house.
We knew we wanted to have children, but had no idea when that would happen. It was a great year. I felt like I was becoming an adult and doing all the things you’re supposed to do as an adult. I was even trying to do them in order (well, except for buying the boat before the house). We spent so much time with family and friends that year, and I even had a couple of my brothers living with us for a time.
When the end of fall came, I was sad to put my boat away for the winter, and looked forward to the summer of ’87 with anticipation…until we found out that we were going to have a new addition.
Goodbye Old Friend, Hello New Life
Keep in mind that, in the spring of 1987, I was 23 years old, and my frontal lobe hadn’t completely formed yet. In my 23-year-old mind, you didn’t take babies on boats.
I mean, they can’t even feed themselves, let alone swim. And apparently, I wasn’t aware life jackets came that small. I’m sure, too, that I was doing some budgeting and realized that the money I was spending on the boat and doing boat things was likely going to be needed for baby things. Plus, I couldn’t bear the thought of having to make a boat payment while it was sitting there in my driveway, calling my name, looking at me with those puppy dog boat eyes, and wondering why I was neglecting it. And so, I sold it. I’ll never forget it being towed away as I watched.
Soon enough, though, the agony of watching my boat go was replaced with the overwhelming sense of joy at watching my first child, my daughter Madison being born, and holding her little wrinkled body in my arms for the first time. And then, I got the privilege of repeating that experience three more times with my second daughter Mikayla, my son Mario, and my youngest son Merek who was born in 1995.
What blessings (and challenges at times) those little gifts from God have been in my life.
Fathers, Take Pride
Until I had children, I didn’t know you could love another human being that much. And as they’ve grown up and moved out and started families of their own, making me a grandpa way before I thought I was ready for it, my sense of love for them grows even more. It’s pretty incredible, and I consider being a good father and mentor to them one of the highest callings a man can have. My job was simple, but overwhelming at times; to make sure they grew up to be decent, respectful, productive members of society, they could find their place in this world and make their mark. And, mostly despite my efforts, that’s precisely what they’ve done.
I am indeed proud to be a Father, and I salute all you other fathers out there on this Father’s Day.
Father’s Day Reflection:
Marketing Data Analyst, Father of Two
First Years as a Father
June 21, 2020, marks my third year celebrating Father’s Day as a father as well as my 27th birthday. I have been blessed with two boys that have completely changed my life for the better. Weston is over two years old, and Hudson will be seven months old on Father’s Day. I still have a lot to learn as I’m not as seasoned as some of my fellow fathers at Modern Wealth Management. So many of my thoughts on family, finances, and fatherhood will be derived from what I learned from my father.
Financial Decisions for the Family
The most significant influence in my decision on who I am as a father is my dad. I was extremely blessed to have a Father (and mother) who consistently put their children’s wants above their own in every aspect of their life, including finances. These sacrifices started before my parents even knew they were pregnant with my older sister. They knew they wanted kids and wanted those kids to pursue higher education, so they started a 529 Savings Plan. This is one of the countless examples of financial sacrifices from my parents, but one that would have a profound impact on me later on.
My Father Being There
While I appreciate my dad’s financial decisions now more as an adult, as a kid, I could recognize how my dad was very intentional about the time he had with us. My dad never prioritized work or personal interests over his kids.
I never remember my dad missing a school or sporting event for work or missing many events at all. He was always there. He was my basketball coach until high school and even coached my first soccer team despite never playing. This was also true as I departed to attend college 4 hours away. During my senior season playing soccer in college, my parents made it to every home game and several road games with even longer drives. My family was even recognized as the inaugural “family of the year” for how they supported me.
With all that being said, my dad wasn’t perfect. Like all parents, he made mistakes and learned from them. We can now share laughs about our struggles with blowout diapers, sleep schedules, feedings, and much more.
There have also been areas where we’ve taken different approaches to fatherhood, and there likely be more as my family grows. However, a constant between our lives as fathers is the desire to always be there for our kids.
Getting There Myself
As I graduated college at the end of 2014, little did I know I would embark down a road of significant life changes in a short period. My wife and I experienced starting our first jobs, engagement, marriage, our first apartment, moving into our first home, our first child, buying our first car, (spoiler alert: It was a used mini-van) and then having our second child. All of this happened before the end of 2019.
As those occurred, my wife and I had significant changes in our priorities. We both began our marriage working full-time jobs that were much different than what we’re doing today. I was always traveling for work, and my wife worked night shifts as a nurse with a long commute. Since then, I have changed jobs twice, all to be home to spend more time with my family. I haven’t traveled for work in close to two years, and it has been amazing!
My wife went from working full time (3 to 4 x 12-hour shifts per week) to part-time (2 x 12-hour shifts) to PRN (usually 1 x 12-hour shift). She is now home with the kids six days a week. When she does work, our boys are watched by myself or one of their grandmas. Along with wanting to be home with our kids, we also prioritized having them be taken care of only by family when we worked as opposed to daycare. We were blessed to have both of the boy’s Grandma’s be willing to help and for my wife to be able to work fewer hours to make this an option. However, the decrease in my wife’s hours at work resulted in less income as our expenses rose with having kids.
So, we decided on how we spent money as parents to accommodate our priorities to work less, and to be home more.
We don’t have new or fancy cars, a huge home, or many other expensive things, but to be fair, we didn’t want those things anyway. Nearly all of our boys’ clothes and toys were purchased on consignment, gifted, or handed down from family. We’ve bought two used cribs, a dresser, a bike, and many more items from strangers using Facebook Market for our kids.
We’ve been lucky enough to snag a set of cabinets, a climbing gym, and, most recently, a double stroller for free off the curb in our neighborhood and surrounding areas. My wife has also developed the skill of selling things on Facebook that we no longer use or need. Instead of going on expensive trips across the country, we now opt to visit family within driving distance.
Recognizing the Sacrifices of Our Parents
All this to say, we could certainly do more to cut back on spending, and we aren’t the world’s most frugal family. However, these small changes have helped us to afford a comfortable lifestyle and keep our family close. We also recognize that we’re able to have this lifestyle because of our parents. Even before watching our kids while my wife worked, our parents had done so much for our growing family. Whether it was my father-in-law covering wedding expenses, or my dad saving for my education expenses, both helped give us the financial footing to start our family. We know that many of the blessings we experience today are the results of their sacrifice, and we don’t take that for granted.
I can’t write about Father’s Day without sharing how truly amazing it is to be a father of two beautiful boys. I still have moments where it doesn’t seem real, especially after thinking about how much my life has changed over a few years. Everything seemed to move so fast, leading up to the birth of my kids. That’s why it was such a stark contrast when I held my sons for the first time. Everything stood still. All the other nurses and hospital staff in the room disappeared, and it was just me, my wife, and our child. For me, there is nothing that has or ever will compare to those first moments with my boys.
What has become the most important to my wife and as we parent, our three boys is– time. That’s why we’ve chosen our current lifestyle to provide each of us with more time with our kids, not to say that our way is the only or best way. Other Fathers can juggle a demanding career, travel, and other engagements that ultimately benefit their family, even if that is at their sacrifice. I salute those fathers, as I learned early on that I didn’t have that skill set. Other families can justify spending more because they have the means to do so, or because the value they receive from those things is worth what is given up attaining them.
As a Father, there have been times when I felt completely overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do. I’ve made my share of mistakes, and I know those will continue as my kids get older. However, I’d rather make more mistakes spending time with my boys than not to have made them because I wasn’t there. Besides, how can you learn to be a better father if you aren’t there to practice and learn from your mistakes? I’m sure my boys will grow up and question many things about their father. These may include my cooking ability, fashion sense, taste in music, or overall sanity, and that’s to be expected. However, it would break my heart to have them start to question why I didn’t spend more time with them.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the things that my dad and I bonded over was sports. My dad was a great coach who taught me how to play the game but, more importantly, how to practice.
Coaching is something I hope to continue with my sons if they pursue athletics when they’re old enough. The legendary basketball coach John Wooden, the winner of 10 NCCA Men’s Basketball National Championships, had many great quotes about both coaching and fatherhood:
“In the end, it’s about the teaching, and what I always loved about coaching was the practices. Not the games, not the tournaments, not the alumni stuff. But teaching the players during practice was what coaching was all about to me.” – John Wooden
I love this quote because it parallels the importance of being there for your kids. Even when it may not be fun, or visible to others, consistent presence during the “practices” of your child’s life can have a considerable impact. There is another memorable quote from John that is shorter, but I think it carries an important Father’s Day message.
“I was built up from my dad more than anyone else.” – John Wooden
To all the dads out there working hard to build up their children, Happy Father’s Day!
Whether you’re planning for your children’s future or retirement, we know what it means to be a dad. If you have questions about achieving your goals, give us a call at 913-393-1000 or schedule a complimentary consultation below.
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The views expressed represent the opinion of Modern Wealth Management an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information provided is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment, tax, or legal advice. Modern Wealth Management does not accept any liability for the use of the information discussed. Consult with a qualified financial, legal, or tax professional prior to taking any action.