If you pay attention to the stock market, you know it’s up, it’s down. Good investors say patience is one of the greatest virtues. An old Chinese proverb offers this lesson for investors: “If your vision is for a year, plant wheat. If your vision is for ten years, plant trees. But if your vision is for a lifetime, plant people.” I love planting people! And tasting the results of long-time planting is even sweeter!
Things like stocks come and go, but people will carry your values and beliefs through generations. Investing in your family and other people is an ultimate long-term view, the mutual fund of a lifetime.
As with any financial investment, starting early and being consistent over the long-haul is a proven way to accumulate the greatest results. That’s also true of investment in people. Intentionally pouring love and nurture into a baby and consistently mentoring that growing child toward adulthood will bring the best possible chance of a positive outcome. This principle is one of the reasons that my wife Linda loves her job. She’s a labor and delivery nurse. She regularly gets to inspire new parents to invest well right from the get go.
Regardless of whether reflection on your past investments lead to a sense of regret or fulfillment, it’s not too late to start investing in people. I suggest you make sure you are investing in your family first of all. If married, start with your spouse. If a parent, make sure you are investing in your children. If a grandparent, sow intentionally into your grandchildren. People will carry your values and beliefs through generations.
Let me also suggest that you also consider investing in a younger person outside your family circle. It could be coaching a future leader in your work place. It might be mentoring a student in a local school. You could be a Marriage Mentor. Or you could guide a spiritual seeker into a maturing relationship with God.
If you live in Southwest Florida, you could invest in a student through Not In My City. There are many ways to make a difference in the lives of children in every community. Explore the opportunities through your House of Worship or through your local United Way organization.
Who are you investing in? Are you being intentional about investing in your family? Are you investing in anyone in the generations below you? If not, why not get started?
QUESTION: Who invested in you? How have they impacted your life? Share your comments below.