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The Coronation of King William

imagesWell, it’s tax season. Which means it’s that time of year again. Time for spring football! And for the last several days, son William (12), has been trying out for next year’s middle school team. Surprising, really. He’s never held much interest in big brother’s games, nor does he enjoy Saturday mornings with College Game Day. (Come to think of it, he may not even be my child. There are four unaccounted for minutes after his birth when the nurse took him out of the room...) However, on a recent college visit for Nicholas, William was able to tour a college football locker room and even attempt a few field goals when our host – the Offensive Coordinator - wasn’t watching.  And that was it.  There was no turning back; he was to be a football star.

“Dad,” he asked on the way home, “after I score a touchdown, do you think I should point to heaven or just throw down a cool dance move?” Followed immediately by, “And which would Jesus want me to do?”

I was a little (and only a little) surprised by how far he'd leapt through the process. He went from the idea of even playing football to the type of celebration he’d employ once he scored.  Let’s give him some grace; he’s twelve.  Of course he expects to score.  He should have lofty goals and aspirations.  And as any good parent and coach would do in that situation, I squashed them. I went on, at length, about the hard work required, the pain he’ll endure through the process, and the importance of learning the fundamentals first – saving the celebration for down the road.

In one ear and out the other.

The family spent the long ride home witnessing the self-coronation of William, King of the Gridiron. He doesn’t lack for confidence. After his first middle school dance, for example, he declared, “Yeah, I like dancing with women. I think I’ll do that again.” I hear ya, stud. But that’s a conversation for another day.

And while he may think he knows himself and his situation clearly, I know he doesn’t.  He’s twelve. His decision making process does not yet include the introspective:

In light of my past experience, my present circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams,               what’s the wise thing to do?

But we can’t always pin wisdom on age, now can we. I’m four times his age, and I can’t profess to apply that question at every turn - particularly in areas of finance. Why?  Because there’s something about money that often clouds judgment.  I’ve been there. And I’m willing to bet you’ve been there, too.  And maybe, can we admit, we’re still there?

More to the point:

  • Do you really know what drives your financial decision making process? 
  • Do your emotions ever cast a haze over your financial condition, or might they have even led to your situation in the first place?
  • Can you be honest enough with yourself to recognize what leads to your financial anxiety?
  • And can you be disciplined enough to create lasting change?

I’ll not attempt to drill down on the above in this post.  (Honestly, I’m still working on my own responses.) We will, however, revisit these questions in future posts. And it's my belief that we're all capable of making wise financial decisions and improving our financial lives.  It starts with self-discovery and guidance. And we'll go through it together.

Today, I'm proud to report, William made the football team. He went through a week of physical torment (to listen to him tell it), and he‘s emerged victorious. He’s now earned the right to go through more pain and self-discovery in his quest for the goal line. And in my heart of hearts, I believe he'll get there.  And for us? Should we choose to address the questions above – understanding that some degree of hard work, pain and torment will likely follow - maybe a victory dance awaits us, as well.

And a nod to heaven might do well for all of us.

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