Close to the Kids

November 9, 2015

In nine years and 1,500-plus games — I missed only three of them.

I am blessed to have great relationships with both of my children, my son, Justin, 31, and my daughter, Samantha, 26. Friends of mine often ask me how they can achieve the same kind of relationship with their adult children. One answer is “I don’t know.” Relationships are unique and even the best of them are challenging. However, I do have a few ideas as to how I’ve been able to develop these fantastic relationships and I thought I’d share a few. Hopefully, somewhere in this blog post are ideas you’ll be able to use with your own children — or parents. My son, from the age of eight to 16, played more than 1,500 baseball games. He played club ball, PONY Baseball, Little League, All Stars, high school sports — any place and any time he had an opportunity to play, he did. And of those games, I managed or coached more than 1,200 of them. Most importantly, in nine years and 1,500-plus games — I missed only three of them. Owning my own business made that commitment easier, there is no doubt about that. And I am grateful that it worked out that way. However, when I hear people say, “Of course you could go to all his games, you owned your own business,” I point out that in actuality; I own my own business so that I could go to all of his games. The difference is important. My wife and I made a conscious decision that we wanted to be as involved as possible in our kids’ lives. My son was born in September 1984 and I started Mustang Marketing in May 1986. It was a huge risk, a huge pay cut and a huge leap of faith. The motivation was not finances, but lifestyle. We knew what kind of parents we wanted to be and my life as a travelling salesman, while rewarding financially and infinitely more secure than starting a new company, would not allow me the time and flexibility necessary to be the parent I desired to be — and hope that I was. It was a great decision for us and we have been blessed since. I’m not suggesting that the way we did it is the only way, or even the best way, but it is one way. And perhaps the most important takeaway is that if you are aware of what you want and you’re willing to take chances and work toward your goals, they just might happen. By the way, 20 years later I can still tell you which three games I missed, why and where I was instead. 🙂