This post is inspired by John Meussner and Margaret Rome's challenge What Makes You Exceptional?
There is NOTHING that I have done that someone hasn't done better but in light of how lowly I may hold my own actions I can say that the brightest point of my life has been the way I've raised my kids... starting with choosing the right woman to be their mother.
Back in my early 20's, before I was married, my sister told me I would make a great father. Father! That was the last thing I wanted to be. I was no where near grown up myself to someones father and I could not envision ever wanting to be a father.
My dad was a good man but he was not a good father. A product of the depression my dad's goal and his personal mission in life was to make as much money as possible so that his family never lacked for anything. News flash for anyone who thinks like my dad did: Needing to earn basic necessities builds humility and character. You are not doing your children a favor by giving them everything they desire. I like the old saying: Give a pig everything it wants you will raise a good hog but give a boy everything he wants and you will have a spoiled pig.
There have been many women in my life over the years and none of them made me think of raising a family... until Carol. Even in our early years together I had no desire to father children. It was not until I was 45 years old that I gave in to the desire to procreate. In the year of 2000 we had a baby girl, Tina, and 17 moths later we were blessed with a boy, Timmothy.
My goals for raising my children were: #1) To spend as much time with them as I could. One load of crap our society has tried to make us believe is "It's not the amount of time, it's the quality of time". What a load of CRAP that is. It's a load made up to make the workaholic feel better about themselves. #2) My children were going to know who the creator of the universe is, The one and only true God (The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).
Unlike my own father I was not going to turn all aspects of parenting over to my wife as I pursued making loads of money and a name for myself as a financial Barron. When Tina was born I gave up a traveling sales job with a national company for self employment selling stuff on eBay and working part time in a small town lumber yard (I went from earning $70,000+ to minimum wage over night).
Those first few years were a tough ride financially but well worth the cost. We moved from a little town of 500 to Minot, population 35,000 (at the time) and I started my own company so I could set my own hours.
A very successful Realtor saw the service business I built from nothing and he said "Bob, why don't you become a Realtor?". Looking at the flexibility I thought, why not.
While all of us talk about the flexibility of being a RE professional the truth is that it's not always easy to be home for every meal and after school event but I made it work for 20 years until I could retire.
I retired as fast as I could, age 63, and I was still able to do what I wanted with the kids still at home. When Tina headed off to college in Milwaukee it felt like a divorce as I had hoped she would go to college right here in Minot. She knew what was best for her and although she was determined to leave the nest she comes home every chance she gets. Timmothy stayed here to pursue his art career and I have opened and am running an art gallery in which he is the featured artist.
In conclusion to "What makes you exceptional" I will circle back to my statement There is NOTHING that I have done that someone hasn't done better but I am most proud of my role as a father given all my own flaws.