It’s been a long few weeks in the Meyers’ home. The sad part: we unexpectedly lost an amazing man, Richard Meyers (my father-in-law and boys’ grandfather) to COVID. The wonderful part: we have spent the last weeks sharing stories, flipping through photos, and reflecting on the many values that the boys’ Babu has instilled in both my husband’s and children’s lives. Some have already made a clear fingerprint on their personalities. Others will surely make an impression as they become young adults and parents. This week I want to share five important life lessons that my boys have learned from their late Babu.
Nothing comes for free. From the moment I met my father-in-law, it was evident that the law practice he founded 60 years ago was a huge focus of his. He took every opportunity to remind both his kids and grandkids that the business he built was a result of many years of really hard work. For him, this meant building a law practice from ground up while raising his kids as a single parent AND working as an Albany county legislator. Babu was always telling the kids that success isn’t luck, but a result of how much work you put in. And was always reminding them that if your grade wasn’t 100%, then there was still room for improvement.
EARN TWO, SPEND ONE.
It wasn’t until my later years in life did I truly appreciate just how important this philosophy is (it must be the cost of four boys). Although my father-in-law was proud of the many toys he had acquired and travel he’d enjoyed, he was meticulous with his finances. He instilled, from a young age, the importance of saving as much of your allowance as you spend. And was genuinely thrilled each time my husband and I made a 529 deposit into our kids’ educational savings account, knowing he had successfully done his job. (My More Than A Dream campaign this month with Adirondack Wealth Management contains great templates to help you do this too).
ALWAYS LOOK YOUR BEST.
No matter where you’re heading. Babu loved to (repetitively) share the story about his first suit. When he first started practicing law, he could afford only one suit. He shared that he would wear that one suit five days a week, and have the dry cleaner turn it around by the following Monday. He took SO much pride in the way he looked, and was rarely seen without looking crisply-pressed from head to toe. Babu was often overheard saying “What do you live in a barn?” when his kids or grandkids weren’t dressed to his standards. Or loved to share that “HIS kids were always in blazers when on a flight”, usually when complaining about today’s way-too casual looks.
A personal philosophy made crystal clear by taking sole custody of all three of his children after his divorce. Babu was seen, more often than not, at a party, phone in hand, showing off his children and grandchildren. Sometimes spending WAY too long, dare I say “boasting” about the kids. When I first met David I would ask “OMG, does your Dad have any idea that that person is no longer interested?” To which he would respond… “He doesn’t give a s%&t. He’s just so proud.” There was NOTHING he wouldn’t do for his family.
HAVE FUN WITH FRIENDS.
From his early years of schmoozing at political fundraisers, to never missing a country club party, Richard stayed young through his love of people. He was ALWAYS out and about, chatting it up, with everyone from judges to wait staff. He built a career by sitting at bars, simply being himself. Sharing stories of his own life’s challenges, and listening to those of others. A highlight of Richard’s year has always been attending the Fort Orange Club Turkey Shoot with his son and business partner. And it’s no surprise that he was usually seen enjoying some red wine, a cigar, and many laughs with old friends.
“The goal is not to live forever. The goal is to create something that will.” – Chuck Palahniuk
Thank you, Babu, for all of our important life lessons, and the positive impact you’ve had on so many.