LESSON PLAN: LEARNING FROM MY CHILDREN ABOUT ESTATE PLANNING
TEACHER: LUKE CLANCY
GRADE: RISING HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR
DOUBLE DOWN TO FIND SUCCESS
My favorite quote about success is by President Calvin Coolidge. The quote basically states that determination trumps talent, genius, and education as the best character trait that leads a person to success.
The author and psychologist Angela Duckworth terms this characteristic as “grit.” She writes that grit is the prevalent reason for achievement of West Point cadets, spelling bee participants, many actors (including Will Smith) and inner-city students among others.
HOW I BUILT THIS
The superb NPR podcast How I Built This showcases the journey of incredibly successful business owners. The common characteristic trait that has led these business owners to inconceivable success is determination.
In my own life my son Luke exhibited the character trait of gritty determination during his freshman and sophomore years as a student at Oak Park River and Forest High School. In grade school Luke proved to be a talented athlete in basketball - a sport that was Luke’s first love. Luke developed great ball handling skills and a head for the game. He earned a starting position on the team throughout grade school and he received the MVP award in 8th grade.
So, it seemed Luke would easily attain a place on the OPRF High School freshman basketball team. Luke left nothing to chance. He participated in the OPRFHS summer basketball camp, lifted weights and constantly played pickup games with older kids during the time leading up to tryouts.
When OPRFHS basketball tryouts started, Luke was ready, and he believed he would be chosen for the freshman A team. At the end of tryouts, the coach read out the names of the players chosen for the freshman A and B teams. Luke’s name was not read. Luke was not chosen for any position on either freshman team.
This gut-wrenching blow blindsided Luke. Not only did Luke not make the team of a sport he loved, but he would now be the only Clancy boy who had not played basketball at OPRFHS (Luke’s two older brothers, his dad, and his uncle Tim all played basketball for OPRFHS).
Unfortunately, during try-outs Luke had not accounted for his lack of height and lack of speed, a terrible combination. Unlike most of his friends who were selected for the OPRFHS freshman team, Luke had not enjoyed a growth spirt.
Don’t dare count Luke Clancy out. That kid has grit. Luke spent a few days licking his wounds and then doubled down. He was determined not to be the only Clancy boy who did not play basketball at OPRFHS. During his freshman year, Luke worked twice as hard; lifting weights and playing pick up games with much older and stronger members at FFC health club. I believe by sheer will, Luke grew eight inches that year. (Luke is now the tallest member of our family.)
BEAT THE ODDS
Still, the odds were against Luke at the sophomore team tryouts. The sophomore team has only half as many positions as the freshman team. Winning a position on the team would be even harder than making the freshman team. Luke worked hard at tryouts and with his increased height and strength he proved his worth. He made the sophomore team! Way to go Luke Clancy!!
Luke’s lesson in grit and determination can be applied to estate planning (wills, trusts and powers of attorney). At first, we are energized to get an estate plan in place, and we put it at the top of the to do list. We start to gather information and may even calendar an appointment to get it done.
But then life happens, and we lose momentum. We start rationalizing to ourselves that we have waited this long, we can wait a few more weeks, months or even years to create a will, powers of attorney, etc. We believe we are young and healthy and estate planning can wait. But every once in a while, we start to feel a little guilty about not having an updated estate plan in place and we move the task up to the middle of the to do list.
THE WRONG ORDER
That is exactly where I was a year ago. Of course, I knew the benefits for my family of having an estate plan in place. It was on the to do list. Then my seeming healthy husband Mike suffered a heart attack. So, instead of starting with an estate plan, we started with a heart attack. Definitely, the wrong order of things. Luckily, Mike is okay, and we now have an estate plan in place.
Take a lesson from a Clancy (Luke Clancy), double down and beat the odds. Create that estate plan. It is easier, cheaper and less time consuming than you think - weight lifting not required. 😉
Thanks Luke Clancy!