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Invest in People


I don’t know Amanda P., but I think I would like to. She came to my attention when I read a story she’d written in which my son played a part. Over a decade ago both she and Tyler were students at Wofford College, where they became friends.

A time came where Amanda felt she needed to leave school for an undetermined period for personal reasons. Based on her story, she didn’t know who she was or how to live life anymore. So she told a group of her friends (Tyler among them) that she was leaving school with no timetable for coming back.

Later that day, she received a text from Tyler, asking her to stop by his housing unit before she left. Once there, he presented her with a small gift, a magnifying glass. He told her, “It’s to help you while you find yourself again.”

I’m sure he didn’t know at the time that that gift would become a metaphor that helped her examine her life and become the writer, the lecturer and the deeply good person she is today. I had given the magnifying glass to Tyler as sort of a gag gift years earlier because his eyesight isn’t the best. But then he gave it away to someone to whom it meant so much that even today she keeps it with her when she’s speaking in front of large gatherings.

By the way, Amanda did return to Wofford and get to wear the cap and gown and proudly walk across the stage in front of Old Main to receive her degree.

I tell you this today because you never know how you are going to affect someone else. It wasn’t the magnifying glass that I picked up somewhere that indirectly made its way to Amanda that made any difference.

It was the fact that Tyler’s mother and I had invested 20 years into trying to mold him into a good, kind, loving individual that happened to come along at the right time with the right message to have a positive impact on a beautiful person. And that person has gone on to positively impact countless others in the years since then.

This blog is all about investments. The lesson here is that many investments take years to pay off. As important as it is to invest for your eventual retirement long before the date you are to retire, the investments you make in people are so much more important. You may not know exactly how it’ll pay off, but investments in people always seem to.

I had no idea on that cold January morning in 1989 when we packed Tyler up at the Greenville hospital to bring him home for the first time, that one day I’d be reading a story written by a young lady that gave my son a tiny bit of credit for the beautiful life she lives today. I can’t think of a better investment than that.

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