The following article is from Melanie, our staff writer. Melanie is in the beginning phase of her journey to Financial Freedom and she’ll bring a refreshing point of view for us.
One thing that I am proud of myself about is my work ethic. I’ve never shied away from hard work and never thought anything was above me, when times were really tough.
I like to think that I have really great role models in that department. My mom grew up much differently than I did, and now she is very successful and doing well for herself.
While I had a pretty average, middle class upbringing, my mom grew up in a single parent household, as one of six kids, in the projects in Detroit — or “the wrong side of town”. With education and hard work, she has been able to change her life completely and I am in awe of her.
But there is one person that has really taught me a lesson in hard work and that is my grandmother. I didn’t know my grandmother long, but I know she was a beautiful, strong soul. So much stronger than I could ever be.
You see, my grandfather — her then husband — committed suicide when my mom was only five years old. It’s a painful memory and a stain on our family history. Since I never met him, I have nothing but questions about him, but what I do know is that my grandmother did an amazing job raising six kids on her own and making it work.
My grandma didn’t drive, yet she took the bus anywhere there was work. She found work as a housecleaner and often worked at the church. I try to put myself in her shoes and I don’t know how she did it. I can’t even imagine having one kid, let alone six kids that you have to take care of on your own.
But she did it. During this emotional crisis, it was fight or flight, and she fought to the very end to make the best of it. She worked multiple jobs and did what she had to in order to put food on the table.
Whenever I feel like giving up, or feel like I am so tired of working hard, I think of her. I think of her perseverance and her drive. I think about her resilience despite all obstacles and am thankful that I haven’t experienced a fraction of her struggle.
In essence, my grandma is my financial role model. She has given me that scrappy do-it-yourself spirit that comes alive during periods of struggle. She taught me that you must go on in the face of adversity, even if you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
From a financial standpoint, I’ve learned how to become resilient and resourceful — two key factors I believe help pay off debt and build wealth.
While there are plenty of other people that could serve as my financial role model because of their entrepreneurial business acumen, or money making skills, I believe a lot of things behind building wealth start with character.
As the quote says, character is who you are when no one is watching. My grandma didn’t get any recognition for what she did — like so many single mothers of the world, I’m sure. But she kept on going, knowing that she wanted to provide a better life for her kids. And that she did. Because of her efforts, my generation is different. We’re far removed from these struggles — and isn’t that what parents ultimately want?
But I never want to forget where I came from and the lineage that I have. It’s made me who I am and will shape who I will be. It’s made me stronger when I feel like the debt repayment is going too slow — it’s made me creative in how I think of ways to make money and how I grow my business.
In short, this lesson in hard work has shaped my whole financial life and who I am.
I’m curious — who is your financial role model and what did they teach you?
Photo Credit: flickr by Hindrik S