Lots of kids

Thinking about family-owned businesses always makes me think about my wife’s family’s ranch.

She grew up on a ranch outside a small Nevada town. She had four brothers and two sisters and all of those kids contributed in some way to the running of the ranch. The boys knew how to drive by the time they were ten and before their ages could be counted in teens, they were running tractors and bailers.

The girls worked hard preparing meals for the family but also canning and preserving food grown in gardens and orchards on the ranch. Old-school roles for the genders to be sure but things were a bit less complicated then. The point is that this family worked together to make the business a success. There was no question about this. It was assumed. Survival meant that everyone did their part.

My youngest son worked in my shop from the time he was old enough to chase me out the door when I headed to work. My older son was never interested in woodworking. He was an early computer geek and took an entirely different path. Growing up in his time, he had this option. There was no pressure on him to participate in the family business. And he has prospered.

I never put pressure on my younger son to work in the shop. It’s just what he wanted to do. So he and I ran the shop. Since I did not have seven kids, I had to hire additional help. Made me think that having more kids might not have been such a bad idea.

D.D.

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