Last Sunday, a church in our neighborhood sponsored a sandwich drive. Members and their friends who volunteered made 12,000 bologna and cheese sandwiches for homeless people in the downtown area. About half of the people who participated included families with young children. This is a great learning experience for youngsters who are part of middle class America. It teaches them more than cooperation and working together for a noble cause. It also opens their eyes to the fact that not all Americans are as prosperous as they are. Such experiences are important in developing productive and successful adults. Most millionaires, for example, have great empathy for the needs of others and were sensitized by their parents to the importance of having respect for all types of people.
Most millionaires are leaders, and most leaders are great mentors. The volunteers who organized the sandwich drive were mentors for all the young people who came to help. When this took place, it reminded me of another episode where I had the priviledge of interacting with a extraordinary mentor.
After listening to a recording of a talk I gave at the Downtown Atlanta Rotary Club earlier in the year, Carl had telephoned me and asked for a favor. He told me that he was going to make a proposal to his three school-aged grandkids. All three would be required to read The Millionaire Next Door and then write a short review of the material. Each grandchild was to focus on the key point he/she learned from the reading assignment. The reviews would be evaluated and each given a letter grade. The grandchild who received the top grade would get a cash prizeof $500. The two runners-up would each receive $250. But if Granddad Carl did the evaluating, he might be criticized for “playing favorites.” So Carl asked me to be an impartial third party to grade the three reviews; I agreed to do so.
The reviews were very well done. Frankly, I was amazed that three grade school students could interpret the information in the book and write so well. Carl’s granddaughter received an A on her review. The other two were also very competitive and were graded A-.
Carl is wise. He knew that The Millionaire Next Door could teach his young grandchildren many important facts about accumulating wealth and the factors that contribute to financial success. He wanted these young people to learn about the benefits of planning one’s financial future and the great satisfaction derived from becoming self sufficient.
Unfortunately, many young adults today have no clue about how to prepare for the future. It is up to parents and other responsible adults to become mentors like Carl, role models and planning instructors for our children and grandchildren. We also have to make learning fun, even an immediately rewarding experience. Carl knew this intuitively. I suspect that’s why he was successful in his business career as a CEO of a major public corporation.
[Please note that I no longer grade papers; 10,000+ were more than enough! I hope you understand.]