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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Therapeutic Accounting: Don’t Give up Hope


Everyone goes through times in their lives where they really want something to happen.

We hope and hope, but nothing seems to materialize. After a countless amount of unanswered “hopes,” we eventually give up hope.

I was looking back on a couple of times when I almost gave up hope. These are in reference to my two youngest children, Michelle (34 years-old) and Marc (30 years-old). They were both challenging to raise, but this article is specifically about their education.

Michelle dropped out of college after completing two and one-half years. She became involved with some bad influences and lost her focus. In fact, she was out of my life for approximately four years as she chose to take a “path” where she lived her life only as she saw it, not considering other family members.

Fast forward about four years when we reconnected (how and why is a separate discussion). At some point she asked me if I would again pay for her college education so that she could complete what she had previously started. I asked her how long it would take to complete her bachelor’s degree, and she said two years. I told her to borrow every dollar she could from any agency that provides student loans. I said that if she completed her degree in three years (not just the two she had indicated), I would pay off her loans in full. If not, it would be her debt to take care of. I am happy to say that she received her degree within three years, and I paid off her debt.

It did not end there. The following year, she asked my wife, me and her mother if we would help support her and her family and pay for her additional education so that she could get a masters degree. My wife, her mother and I said yes, and last month, I’m proud to say, she graduated with honors and now holds the first masters degree in our family. Now there’s some talk about a PhD.

Marc has his own unique story. He dropped out of school having completed only ninth grade. He was living with Harriet and me and spent limited time with his mother. I told him that he should not drop out of school, but if he did he would have to work (even if that meant flipping hamburgers). He was going down a bad path and refused to do either. His lifestyle of doing nothing but getting into trouble gave us no choice but to tell him that he was not welcome to live with us anymore. He was kicked out of our house and his mother rescued him. She didn’t require him to go to school or go to work.

I lost touch with him for four years (different period than Michelle’s). We got back together (another story) and at some point he called me to say that he needed a job to make some money so that he could buy some holiday presents. One of his problems was that he had no passion or interest in doing anything specific. I helped him get a job with one of my friends (who is also a client) in the wholesale jewelry (high-end) industry. It was to be a six-week part-time job. After the holiday season, my friend asked him if he would like to continue working full time. He agreed. As he spent more time working there, he started to learn a lot about jewelry and, more importantly, my friend taught him about business.

A couple of years later, still working with my friend, he became hooked on the jewelry business. So much so, that Marc was sent to GIA (Gemologist Institute of America) to take the diamond course for six weeks. He succeeded in school way beyond anyone’s expectations.

His thirst for information about jewelry did not stop there. A year later, he went back to GIA for several months to learn all there is to know about colored stones (e.g., sapphires, emeralds, and rubies). He graduated and received a GG degree (Graduate Gemologist). His expertise has increased his company’s income by delving more into colored stones, as previously the firm was known primarily for their diamond expertise. Marc’s contribution has helped the company tremendously. He is now a known specialist in a field where he holds a true passion. He has reached and surpassed goals far beyond his or anybody else’s dreams.

My point is that you shouldn’t ever “give up hope” even though the situation might not look very promising.

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