My knees buckled at the sight of your mom as she stepped inside that tiny church on that tiny island. An island where we’ve made some great family memories with more to come. Mom radiated happiness and calmness as she walked up the aisle on Walter’s arm, her smile, blond streaked hair and suntanned shoulders, the beautiful hand-me-down dress from Beth, the engagement ring from your Great Grammy Charlton and the borrowed pearls from Aunt Peanut took on a magical glow as the southwest Florida sunshine flowed through the open doors and back-lit our scene. Never before and never since has something literally taken my breath away. (Well maybe with the exception of that lacrosse game against Medina when Coop stripped Shell in the final seconds for the win!) In minutes we would be married, your uncles would be ringing the church bell and that happy photo on me and mom that hangs in our bedroom would be snapped.

25 years later, Mom and I sat in the same church on Christmas Eve, surrounded by you three guys! One rounding third and heading for graduation at Michigan, one getting ready to start a gap year and another a rising sophomore in high school. This book is written for each of you.

My goal in writing this is to give you something you can “edit vs. create”. As you strive to position yourselves for personal, professional and profitable success, think of this book as just another resource to turn to. Think Gestalt – shared family stories that might help you see a way forward as you prep for a new opportunity or wrestle with a new challenge. Blessed with ADD chemistry, you know I believe in the pursuit of progress, not perfection. As such, these pages are much more reflective than prescriptive. Its a catalog of what worked, what didnt or what we simply stumbled upon as Mom and I partnered as parents.

I’ll share our philosophies, vision, mission, strategies and the tips, tricks and techniques we used to raise the three of you. Lessons learned? You bet! We made some big mistakes, boatloads more on my part than Mom. Will I take an unflinching look at my character defects? You bet.

Are they true stories? All I can say is it’s true these are stories and with age I’ve probably gotten some of the details wrong. At the end of the day, will this book be useful to you? As experiments never fail, you’ll get the blessin’s, lesson’s or both! The power of the “And”.

Love, Dad

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