father and sons

I’ll cut to the chase. The lesson is simple: play the long game.

My father and grandfather both taught me this lesson in completely different ways. It is the single greatest lesson any person can learn.

I still remember my grandfather telling me his salesman stories I was in my early teens. He was a widget salesmen, for lack of a better word. He traveled all around Quebec and Eastern Ontario selling random products. The one I remember most was a spray foam cleaner. I used to use it clean the white leather sleeves of my high school jacket. The products he sold isn’t important, it’s how he sold them.

The story he told me was about how he talked to the receptionist, the assistant manager, the clerks, and everyone he would meet on his way to pitch his client. He remembered their names, he remembered their stories, he paid them attention.

“There’s one boss today,” he explained. “But you never know who the boss is going to be tomorrow.”

grumps

My grandfather was an expert at the long game.

In an era where people were retiring in their early 60s, he worked until 70. His sales numbers never slipped, he pitched his widgets to generations of clients, and different rosters of managers. He watched stock boys become buyers, he watched local bosses become district managers, and he had a good relationship with all of them.

Time is not a thing we truly appreciate until we look back over the road we’ve traveled. When we’re young, and there’s not much road behind us, we have a limited history to compare actions and outcomes. When we’re young we have brash confidence.

But the longer that road gets, the more potholes there are, the more long uphill climbs we’ve made and, if you’ve built your road properly, there are a lot of long easy stretches and downhills where you got to coast. Only then, when you look over the shoulder and see a history, can you compare the actions and consequences of the past.

My grandfather gave me the advice when I was young, when I needed to hear it, but it wasn’t until I got a longer stretch of road behind me that I truly began to understand it, appreciate it, and put it in to practice.

My grandfather played the long game, and is still playing it.

grandpapa and grandsons

My father taught me how to employ the long game in a different way – with money. He had me start an RRSP in my early 20s. I had barely started my career and he had me planning for retirement? I didn’t quite understand it, but I followed along.

Now, more than 25 years later, I’m proactive in my saving. I started an RESP for my sons to save for their university, and after a sit down with a financial planner in the spring, I’ve learned that the foundation my dad had me build decades ago will be strong enough to support me in the future.

I’ve been so incredibly lucky to have these two men in my life for so long. I’m the oldest of the oldest of the oldest. I knew my great grandfather, and have lived 47 years with my grandfather by my side. He turns 93 this year and is showing us all he plans to play this long game  for a very long time. My father turned 75 last year and is very much active and engaged with his grandsons despite living a 12 hour drive away.

Families are changing faster than our traditional holidays to celebrate them, from grandfathers and uncles, to teachers and coaches, there are a number of men who have made a significant impact by caring for others and their roles should be acknowledged too.

 

 

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Comments

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17 Comments

  1. Athena June 6, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    My Dad was an incredible father. He was such a big part of my life, always there for me no matter what. He’s gone now, but he will never be forgotten.

  2. kathy downey June 7, 2017 at 9:22 am

    After just being married for less than a year i get sick and found out i have MS my husband had taken on the job as my caretaker for over 25 years #ThereToCare for me.My biggest life lesson he taught me was love and dedication.

  3. Stacey Roberson June 7, 2017 at 9:32 am

    My father was always there for me, no matter what! I was able to be by his side and care for him through his last days. It taught me to never take anything for granted and to cherish the moments you have with each other. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

  4. Lindsay Bade June 7, 2017 at 10:08 am

    My dad taught me to live life to the fullest. He lost his battle with cancer last month and I miss him every single day. I will always cherish life and the times we had together.

  5. Andrea Amy June 14, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    My Dad was the BEST dad. I miss him every single second of every single day. He taught me how to trust, how to love, how to be a good parent, how to believe in myself. He as a good man, and I wish my youngest 3 boys had been able to get to know him.

  6. Josh S June 15, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    My parents taught me to respect everybody, no matter who they are.

  7. Maritess June 15, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    When I was growing up, I always hated my dad during the summers because he would have me do activities that were not cool ( memorizing the multiplication table, typing, mowing the lawn). Later on did I realized that those activities benefitted me a lot in school and in life. My dad was always thinking for my own good and he just wants me to be my best.

  8. Charity June 15, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    I have 2 wonderful dads. Both have been great role models.

  9. Victoria Ess June 16, 2017 at 5:15 am

    My dad was there to care for me and his support always gave me confidence.

  10. travelbuds June 16, 2017 at 8:53 am

    My Grandfather was there for me after my dad left when I was young. He was an incredible person and was always teaching me to do the right thing.

  11. jan June 16, 2017 at 10:47 am

    My husband is always #ThereToCare – wonderful man.

  12. Doris Humber June 16, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    My Dad was always #ThereToCare for our family. He was a wonderful role model.

  13. Tainan Lu June 16, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    My mom was always #ThereToCare for me.

  14. kristen visser June 17, 2017 at 9:18 am

    My dad has always been #theretocare
    he taught me that everything happens for a reason. something that i always carry with me because it definitely gives me a better more positive outlook on what may be a negative situation

  15. Maria June 17, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    My grandfather was an incredible man. He was so patient with me and helped to raise me. I have learned many lessons from him and when the hard time came to choose my career he was there for me. He couldn’t help me financially because he didn’t have much but his advice was worth more than any money can buy #ThereToCare

  16. Erica Seaman June 18, 2017 at 5:29 am

    My Dad was always there for me. He taught me so much over the years. He always made sure we had what we needed and could never spoil us enough….sure do miss him.

  17. Julie bolduc June 18, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    My dad has taught me how to be the person I am today strong willed and trusting thank you dad

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