LAW ADVOCACY FAMILY FINANCE A monthly newsletter providing your family with insight about the law and finance (with an occasional dose of humor) from your friends and advocates at DuPont Wealth Solutions and the Law Offices of DuPont and Blumenstiel.
LESSONS FROM MY FATHER
Over the past few months, my family and I have been helping my parents downsize. Packing up the home they’ve been in for years is a gloomy process, but one rich with nostalgia. Something as mundane as an armchair suddenly packs an emotional wallop, bringing back memories of all the times my father dragged himself home from a long day of work. As soon as he took that seat, he’d be fast asleep. Now, with Father’s Day right around the corner, my mind turns back to that chair and my gratitude for the man who sat in it. My father owned and operated a pharmacy, working tirelessly to support his seven kids. It was a modest shop, one of those mom-and-pop stores you don’t see in theWalgreens era. But to my siblings and me, it was the whole world. We grew up working in that pharmacy. When you were young, you swept the aisles and stocked the shelves. When you got a little older, you got to run the cash register. I remember being 12 years old, selling packs of cigarettes
My father showed me just how rewarding being a small- business owner can be. He was proof an honest man could build a life for himself and his family through perseverance and force of will. The journey may be exhausting, even nerve-wracking at times, but that’s part of what makes it so gratifying. We may work in very different fields, but I’d like to think I carried over those lessons from
my father. We’re both men trying to make an honest living by helping others; he got people their prescription drugs at a fair price, and I help people navigate their way in a world where prescription drug prices have become anything but fair. I even have an armchair to collapse in myself these days. One of the last steps of preparing my parents’ home for the move was cleaning out the crawl space. I opened up that stuffy, cramped room, and tried not to think about whether I was breathing asbestos. The place brimmed with old records from the pharmacy I had filed away as a teenager. Feeling very much like a 52-year-old, I knelt in the same manner I did all those decades ago and mucked out the deteriorated remains of the documents. Back then, I was an ambitious boy with dreams of making my way in the world. Today, I’m secure in my retirement having built a firm that helps others do the same. And it’s all thanks to the man who taught me the value of buckling down and getting work done, crawl space or otherwise.
to college kids I thought of as “old.” Boy, times have changed. I probably wouldn’t have admitted it to you back then, stacking drawers upon drawers of medicine vials while other kids were
“WE MAY WORK IN VERY DIFFERENT FIELDS,
BUT I’D LIKE TO THINK I CARRIED OVER THOSE LESSONS FROM MY FATHER.”
out playing, but I was incredibly grateful for the time I got to spend in that store.
Working alongside my father was a bonding experience you only get in a family business. My siblings and I learned what a good work ethic was, and one of my brothers even became a pharmacist himself. As for me, I caught my dad’s entrepreneurial spirit. Watching and learning the ways my father conducted business lit a spark in me. Of course, things were always stressful for him, but he kept at it. Behind all the long nights and early mornings, there was the indisputable gumption of a man determined to make his way in the world. When he fell asleep in his armchair at night, it was because he had earned it.
To all the fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers out there, happy Father’s Day.
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