SOS: Giving your family everything money can’t buy
Yesterday, Lane and I attended an entrepreneurship seminar at BYU. We enjoyed hearing an excellent lecture presented by Dave Boyce, a successful entrepreneur and BYU alum. Hearing his story caused both Lane and me to reflect back to nearly twenty years ago when we walked together across that stage to receive our diplomas and Lane started working at a start-up company.
After the seminar, we met some people. One man asked Lane about his company, and how much it grosses a year. I was a little taken aback by the question–not because it was inappropriate to the setting, but because it could have been taken as a success assessment–somehow a measurement of his life and character. I don’t think it was meant it that way.
Ironically, Lane was in another business setting on Saturday, in which a different businessman asked him to share the most amazing thing he has ever done. He answered, in essence: having seven children.
I don’t think either person could know what those answers meant without having walked in our shoes.
Since I have walked hand-in-hand with Lane while he has worked on both endeavors (building a company and raising seven children), I have a feel for what his answers to both questions mean:
- Regardless of the money his company has made or lost, he has worked day in and day out without complaint. (Do you know anyone who NEVER complains? He never complains about having to work, either at home or at the office.)
- He has loved me, even when I have complained or been moody or been mad at him.
- He has maintained a sense of humor while the rest of us could have driven him crazy.
- He has been faithful to me, including through a period of serious illness, when we didn’t know what the future of our family would be.
- He goes the extra mile for me and the children willingly. Just the other night, when we took off to get away for a night for our anniversary, it was after midnight. We had celebrated Anna’s birthday very late, and hadn’t been able to leave home until nearly 11 pm. After we got to the hotel, he opened his computer to proofread a google document: Julia’s essay that she was trying to finish by morning and had asked him to read. He had gotten home that same morning, very tired after his business trip, and surely by midnight was ready to call it a night. But he didn’t, because he was committed to helping Julia. It is so like him.
- He never gives up. I have appreciated his optimism when I have, on the other hand, been depressed.
- He encourages our children in all their endeavors. He was the one to attend Nate’s rugby games, in rain, snow, or sleet. He has been to countless recitals. He stands in the wind at Pete’s soccer games. He attended Sarah’s junior high musical that took three hours. He stayed home to take care of the family while Sarah and I traveled to Canada for her harp performance because it was too expensive for all of us to go.
- He treats me like a queen. I have learned over the years how much it means to me when he makes the bed while I’m out of the room in the morning, or says “thank you” to me for doing the laundry. He brings me flowers and tells me I’m the most beautiful woman in the world. He never criticizes me, even though I have criticized him.
- He works hard, and not just at work. When our neighborhood flooded recently, he spent his Sunday helping to rip out carpet, baseboards, and dry wall in a number of homes, going from home to home until he needed to be back home in the afternoon for a cousin dinner we were hosting. Our children helped him while I was teaching Primary and preparing the dinner for the guests we were expecting.
You can’t put a dollar amount on those kinds of efforts and that kind of character.
I remember reading one time a description of Harold B. Lee’s experience growing up, and I found it shared again in another place:
When President Harold B. Lee was growing up in Clifton, Idaho, money was dreadfully scarce for his family. Their farm produced generously, but grain and potatoes brought little monetary return. Their father augmented the family income by contracting for custom grain cutting, drilling wells, and building irrigation canals. And so they had sufficient for their needs. The Church provided entertainment opportunities for the family.
The Lee children did not know they were poor. Their home was filled with love and laughter, reading, and music. Their mother was a skilled homemaker who made a very little go a very long way. Her children were always dressed appropriately for church. As an adult, President Lee recounted, “We had everything money could not buy” (“Everything Money Cannot Buy” by Mary Ellen Smoot).
I am so grateful for my husband giving our family everything that money cannot buy.