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​There is only one investment that is guaranteed to make a gain in life. That is the investment in family. There are a lot of people to invest in but there are mainly 3 of these people that exist being yourself, your partner and your kids. You could write a whole book on yourself and your partner and this subject is beyond the scope of this book. The focus here is investing in your kids. Not one person has ever looked back over their life and said, “I wish I had worked harder”. If they do say that, then they are just not great people to be around.

You can invest for them such as saving for their education or their long term future. This is fantastic and I would really encourage this because it really does show you care about their well being later in life, perhaps after have passed away. Unfortunately, this is a perfect scenario that cannot always be carried out in the situation you or your family are in.

There are 2 options to make sure they are looked after.

1. Make sure your will is up to date. I am no expert in this and I would suggest a lawyer or attorney for this advice but making sure your will is in order, tells people that you have thought about your death ahead of time. This may sound backward but it will save them a huge amount of time, money and hassle subsequent to your passing.

2. Make memories.

Make the kind of memories that will stay with them forever. Perhaps you will learn a few things too! This type of memory does not have to be long, fancy overseas trips or extravagant gifts. Yes, those are nice but in 40 years time, will they be able to remember what present they got for their 4th birthday?

The type of memories i am talking about here is the kind of memory that they will tell their kids and grandkids and they will passed on through the generations. an example is that they will always remember talking to family and friends around the kitchen table. My kids are already got memories that will stay with them. They know that Daddy goes cycling and they go and watch me. My daughter even asks if I am going with granddad because I ride with my dad so often. These are small things when you single them out but they will last forever.

The investment in family is the only investment that will not fail or depreciate and in fact, it will only grow. It will even continue to grow after you pass away.

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Into the darkness

There I am, at my desk working diligently.  I have my earphones in to help distracting noises out of my head. I have a concentration span of half a brick so this helps tremendously. I keep bashing away at the keyboard of my laptop, putting incredibly impressive spreadsheets together so non accounting salesmen can understand what the accounts are doing. Suddenly, it’s dark and very quiet. There is no electricity!  Aaargh – load shedding has struck again. But wait, you have a laptop so its all okay when this happens,  surely? Well yes and no. In a perfect world – yes but the world is not perfect and this means that my laptop has no battery life whatsoever.  Effectively rendering it useless as a laptop and turning it into a fancy looking desktop!

So now what?

Thankfully,  the building we are in has backup generators and after about 10 minutes, they kick in and destroy any hope of an afternoon off.
Load shedding is a very real situation here in South Africa and involves blocks of the country being without power for between 2 and 2 1/2 hours. This gives the power utility enough time to do maintenance or to lessen the load of the power grid. This is a very hot topic in SA and one that everybody will have their little temper tantrum about given half a chance. For me, I actually think it’s a good idea and should be implemented on a semi permanent basis.
Here are a number of reasons to enjoy and benefit feom load shedding or no power.

1. Cost savings.
No power equals less power used equals less money spent.  Enough said.

2. More family time.
No one looks back on their life and says ‘I wish I spend more time watching television or working late’. Use the break from television to spend with your family. Here is a very novel idea – talk to your family during this time. (Note the sarcastic tone in that comment?) More than any other reason – this will ALWAYS benefit you and your family.

3. Explore options.
If your favourite shopping centre or local hangout is in darkness, use the opportunity to break away from the usual places and explore new places to visit. You may find a very exciting place to visit that you will visit more often and even tell your friends about. There will change the usual answer of ‘we went to the usual place’ or ‘we always go to the same place’. Even at home you can do this. This works especially well if you have smaller kids but there is no reason that any age can enjoy it. Have a picnic for dinner. Make something that does not need a firm surface like a table and set up a picnic blanket and pillows etc in your lounge or on the verandah or even in the garden. This is great fun and works wih the lights on too! If the lights are on, NO ELECTRONIC GADGETS!

4. Learn to plan ahead.
Instead of moaning about not having electricity, plan ahead. Load shedding is generally according to a schedule widely published to the public in all forms of media. This gicea you no excuse to not know. Knowing when it’s going off helps you plan ahead of this time. This might mean having dinner slightly later or earlier than normal. It may may , ean bathing childrwn by candlelight. This can be turned into another family experience. My 3 year old daughter loves it when the candles come out and its such a blessing watching her face light up with anticipation. No amount of electronic gadgets can give anybody that joy. If you habe planned a meal out and the restaurant is going to have no electricity – plan a different meal or another branch of the restaurant. The main word here is plan. Refer to point 3.

Being in the dark does not have to be a dark experience. If you put a little effort I to it, it can turn into a great experience that you will cherish forever. What have you got to lose?

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The Christmas party was over. Several of the men were sitting at a table reminiscing about the Christmas days of their childhood. The conversation turned to the best Christmas of their lives. As they went around the table, they noticed one man hadn’t said anything. They asked, “Come on.. Frank, What was your best Christmas?”

Frank said, “The best Christmas I ever had was when I didn’t even get a present.” The others were surprised. They had to hear the story. Frank began to talk.. “I grew up in New York. It was the great depression and we were poor. My Mother had died when I was just eight years old. My Dad had a job but he only worked two or three days a week and that was considered good. We lived in a walk up and we just barely had enough food and clothes. I was a kid and didn’t really notice.”

“My Dad was a proud man. He had one suit. He would wear that suit to work.  When he came home, he would take off the jacket and sit in his chair still wearing his shirt, tie and his vest. He had this big old pocket watch that had been given to him by my mother. He would sit in his chair, the chain from watch hanging out, connected to the fob in his vest buttonhole. That watch was his proudest possession. Sometimes, I would see him, just sitting there, looking at his precious watch. I bet he was thinking of my mother.”

“One year, I was about twelve, chemistry sets were the big thing. They cost two dollars. That was big money but every kid wanted a chemistry set including me. I began to pester my Dad about it a month or so before Christmas. You know, I made all the same kid promises. I would be good. I would do my chores. I wouldn’t ask for anything else again. My dad would just say, ‘We’ll see..”

“Three days before Christmas he took me to the carts. There was this area where all the small merchants keep their street carts. They would undersell the stores and you could get a good buy. He would take me to a cart and pick out some little toy. “Son, would like something like this?” I, of course, would tell him, ‘No, I want a chemistry set.’ We tramped to nearly every cart and him showing me some toy car or toy gun, and me refusing it. I never thought that he didn’t have the money to buy a chemistry set. Finally, he said, we better go home and come back the next day.”

“All the way home, I pouted and whined about the chemistry set. I repeated the promises. I said I didn’t care if I never got another present. I had to have that chemistry set. I know now that my Dad felt guilty about not being able to give me more. He probably thought he was a failure as a Father and I think he blamed himself for my mother’s death. As we were walking up the stairs, he told me, that he would see what he could do about getting me the chemistry set. That night I couldn’t even sleep. I could see myself inventing some new material. I could see the New York Times.. ‘Boy wins Nobel Prize!”

“The next day after work, my Dad took me back to the carts. On the way, I remember, he bought a loaf of bread, he was carrying it under his arm. We came to first cart and he told me to pick out the set I wanted They were all alike, but went through them, like I was choosing a diamond. I found the right one and I almost yelled. ‘This one.. Dad!'”

“I can still see him, reaching into his pant’s pocket, to get the money. As he pulled the two dollars out, one fluttered to the ground, he bent over to pick it up and as he did, the chain fell out of his vest. The chain swung back and forth. ‘No watch.’ In a flash, I realized that my Dad had sold his watch. He sold his most precious possession to buy me a chemistry set. He sold his watch, the last thing my mother had given him, to buy me a chemistry set.”

“I grabbed his arms and I yelled, ‘No.’ I had never grabbed my Dad before and I certainly had never yelled at him. I can see him, looking at me, a strange look on his face. ‘No, Dad, you don’t have to buy me anything.’ The tears were burning in my eyes. ‘Dad, I know you love me.’ We walked away from the cart and I remember my Dad holding my hand all the way home.”

Frank looked at the men. “You know, there isn’t enough money in the world to buy that moment. You see, at that moment, I knew that my Dad loved me more than anything in the world.”

Author Unknown

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