The family board meeting

The family board meeting

 

Investors talk a lot about the financial freedom that comes from having investment property. We glamorize going on trips, not having a J.O.B. and feeling like we are more in control of our future because of the passive income from rental properties. But are those the real reasons why we invest in real estate?

 

Let me clarify what I mean by that.

 

 

You see, buying houses is not my “why.” Real estate and the financial freedom that goes along with it are the vehicles that get me to my why. I am a people person, and my why for getting into real estate is centered around the people and relationships that matter most to me. That would be Yahweh, Ashley and my kids.

 

When it comes to Ashley and our children, I have written on my “I am” card that I am a great husband, and I am a great father. (Notice I didn’t say “good.”) And I chose real estate so that I could have the freedom to spend my time on becoming great in both those roles.

 

But recently I read a book that challenged me on what I just said to you. The name of the book was “The Family Board Meeting” by Jim Sheils. And the intro really got my attention.

 

It starts out with Jim talking about an experience he had with a friend with an addiction problem. This friend was going to rehab, and at the facility, they encouraged the patients to bring a friend or family member. And Jim’s friend asked if he would come. Jim was honored and agreed to go.

 

Once there, Jim noticed that out of all the patients, his friend was the only person who had not chosen a family member to come. As a matter of fact, everyone else had chosen a parent. As the story progresses, another realization emerges — almost every addict there had parents who were entrepreneurs.

 

I had to stop the book and let that sink in.

 

Jim goes on to tell the reader that he believes the reason for the addiction issues he witnessed correlated with entrepreneurial parents not being present when their children needed them most.

 

Jim noticed that his friend was the only addict out of his siblings. But after talking with his friend, he found that his mom and dad went through a rough patch of business where they had to put in some long hours for a prolonged period to keep the business afloat. As it turned out, that was during a pivotal time in his Jim’s friend’s life where he needed to be close to his parents. But they weren’t there. They were at work.

 

Real estate professionals are the worst at this because work is always on the other side of a phone — and it is just one call. Right?

 

I’ve been on a beach in the Caribbean, and I’ve seen friends take business calls while in the water with their family. I’ve seen others do it at their kids’ baseball games, and I’ve even had to get onto my agents for taking my calls while they’ve been on vacation.

 

You see, our kids need us present. They need to know they’re a priority, and they need to know they can talk to us anytime they need us. And if you set a precedent that work takes priority over them, they won’t try to compete with that notion — especially in their moments of need. And as Jim shows from the intro, many kids will turn to addiction because of this dynamic.

 

I don’t want that for my kids.

 

I forgot to mention that Jim is a real estate investor. And he came up with a pretty cool idea that he derived from his time in corporate America to combat this issue that he calls the family board meeting. And the whole purpose is to spend uninterrupted quality time with your kids to create a better bond and have open lines of communication.

 

Once a quarter you schedule a block of time with each of your kids to go have one-on-one time. And you actually put it on the schedule. That lets them know they are the priority, not work.

 

During the board meeting you let the child pick a place to eat and an activity they would like to do. This should take about four or five hours. And the whole time, you’re being present with your child, and letting the conversation go where it will. There’s no agenda.

 

Here’s the other things: there are no devices.

 

 

I had my first board meeting with my daughter yesterday, and it was amazing. We turned my phone on “do not disturb” at 1 p.m., and it did not come back on until we got home. We ate Mexican food and went bowling. We danced in the parking lot and just talked with each other. And before we finished, we scheduled our board meeting for the next quarter. And when we said the thing we were thankful for at the dinner table, she bursted out with she was thankful for her special daddy-daughter time.

 

But here’s the thing: my oldest son was the one scheduled for the day. But he got sick and could not attend. And you know what? When he found out he was not going to be able to spend some quality one-on-one time with dad, he sat down and cried about it — it was that important to him. And I had no idea until that moment how much this was needed and how great this was going to be for our relationship. But I can tell you he and I are both looking forward to our future family board meeting.

 

Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.

 

4 comments

  1. Great ideas as I reflect on ways I could have done better with my own kids.
    Meanwhile, now as a Grandfather with 13, 11 and 8 year old granddaughters we begin to understand the individual needs of each.
    You have planted powerful seeds in our minds how we can accomplish such!
    Thanks!

    1. That is a great perspective Danny. As a matter of fact, they talk about adult children scheduling board meetings with their parents and the positive impact that had on their relationships. The point of that was to tell the reader that it is never too late to start this practice, and that it’s always a good idea. If you decide to implement this with your granddaughters, I would love to hear about the experience.

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