Capital, family and meaning

Many of you know that I have a pair of young sons.

Have been doing a lot of thinking about what, exactly, holds a family together through generations and gives people purpose and a sense of connection.

Obviously, there are a whole range of ideas, stories, personal relationships, customs, memories, etc.

But there’s one other thing that I find meaningful in my own family: Capital.

My great-grandfather, Morris, came to this country with nothing. He ended up owning a bunch of real estate.

When Morris died, Leonard, his son and my grandfather, received a portion of Morris’ estate.

Rather than spend the windfall he received, he passed it along untouched to my mother, who turned around and used it to help my brother and me acquire our first building.

At each point in that process, the receivers recipient [I’m getting dumber, clearly] of the money could have spent it to make his/her own life a little better… cars, trips, etc.

Instead, my grandfather and my mother thought of the capital as something they were husbanding on behalf of subsequent generations.

And, of course, that is how I view it (along with all of the capital that I am working to accumulate now!).

I know passing along capital isn’t normally the first thing we think of when we think about family. But, for me, the understanding that I am but a conduit from people who came before me to people who will come after is part of what gives meaning to my life.