Mark Twain said it perfectly, “The two most important days in your life are the the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
I grew up in a generational business, founded by my grandfather. Then my Dad. Then my brother and I. Now we have our three sons in the business. Nobody alive has seen it start to finish for our family quite like my Mom. Now, her memory is slipping and it’s tough to watch. However, somehow there is real clarity as time marches on past short term memory. Sometimes she can’t remember my Dad has past or how old the boys are, but tonight she made me remember something far more important. She said ” Are you making sure your son’s ask their Grandfather for advice?” I said, “Mom, don’t get upset, but we lost dad 7 years ago.”
She got mad and said, “That’s because you never were good at listening. Don’t let that happen to your sons. Let them listen to him.”
I said, ” Ok, what is he saying?”
After some silence she said, “He can’t talk now. He left us.”
“Ok Mom,” I said, “What would he say?
Then it was never just an auction to Millard. It was knowing someone needed him. Long term memory is what really matters.