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How My Father Helped Me Become Who I Am Today My father taught me the value of a dollar by never giving me one. He once loaned me a dollar for a Coke at McCleery Drug, but I had to pay him back the next day. From an early age, my Dad drove me, albeit indirectly, to get creative with how I earned money. I remember setting up a Kool-Aid stand when I was 5 years old so I could raise some money to buy myself candy at the store. I saw other parents buying Another one of my interests during my teenage years, which was far different from trading stocks, was drag racing. To this day, both my Father and I still love driving fast cars, but it was another hobby my Father let me pursue on my own. One time, when I was around 15, he let me drive all the way from Jerome to Boise with a friend to enter in a drag race. Speaking as a father myself, I don’t know that I would have let any of my kids drive that distance by themselves at that age. I’m glad my Dad let me do it, though, because I won the first place trophy. Bruce and his Dad in front of the Idaho Supreme Court, Sept. 22, 1988
“I give you the whole world, and to do with it as you please.” – Joe Skaug
whatever their kids wanted at the store. My Dad told me those kids would turn out spoiled. Once a month, I could pick out my favorite breakfast cereal, Quisp. Don’t misunderstand me; my Father wasn’t a miser or anything like that. Our family was fairly poor when we were growing up in Jerome, Idaho, so he honestly didn’t have a lot of money he could give out. However, even though we were a lot better off by the time I was in high school, earning my own way was a habit that stuck with me. Ultimately, I have my Dad to thank for that. While he may not have ever given me any money, my Father certainly provided for me in other ways. He shared his knowledge and ideas freely with me while I was growing up — about history, about politics, about religion, about life in general. He also made sure there were plenty of informative newspapers and magazines around the house for me to read. While I might not have inherited his athletic abilities (my Father was playing competitive basketball until he was 60 years old!), he pushed me to use my talents and interests wisely. He encouraged me to read The Wall Street Journal when I was young. By the time I was 16, I was a pretty avid reader of that particular newspaper, and that gave me the knowledge I needed to confidently make my first stock investment. My Father hadn’t advised me to do that. Any knowledge or ideas he shared with me were just tools. He let me use the tools however I saw fit.
My Father wasn’t always absent from my drag races, however. I used to street race in Jerome as a teenager, which is not something most parents would be okay with their kids doing, then or now. Not only was my Dad present and supportive at some of those street races, but he was also the starter! He might have been trying to make sure I stayed safe, but I honestly think he just wanted to make sure I got a fair start to my race. It was probably dangerous and illegal, but it makes for a great memory, and it’s still something I use to connect with my Father today. In 2003, I bought a supercharged Jaguar and drove it out to the deserts of Nevada, where I got it up to 142 mph. When I called my Dad and told him how fast I’d gone, he was disappointed and asked me, “Why didn’t you go all the way up to 150, then?” No father is all wise but God, and my Dad was certainly not perfect. That said, I’m grateful for his guidance and for him letting me sort through life’s challenges on my own. When I left for college, my Dad didn’t give me any money. Instead, he gave me my “inheritance” by saying, “Bruce, I give to you the same inheritance my Father gave to me. I give you the whole world, and to do with it as you please.” I liked that inheritance then, and I like it now. Thanks, Dad.
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