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Re: Question: what do call success?

Farm160 ,Your last paragraph is outstanding.

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Re: Question: what do call success?

Ive thought a lot about this, too, and decided to share my thoughts now that ive organized them.  I'm not sure what success is but i know what it isn't.  


For me success can only be measured by one children.  If my children are good spouses and parents, giving to their communities and not living off society, then I am a success.  That means i have modeled and taught them the values and work ethic that are necessary to a fulfilling life.  When i see my grandkids being raised in stable Christian homes, i feel like a success.


Farms, investments, trust funds, assets do not create my legacy.  The lives my children and grandchildren lead is a legacy that can live on and have a positive impact for generations.  I take no credit for their material succes but i take credit for their upbringing.


Ed and i have not inherited one nickle.  Everything we have, including our college degrees, was gained by our own toil.  However, we both had parents who instilled the values that we live by.  That is an inheritence that is priceless.  We were expected to work on our family farms.  We never expect to inherit anything.


Im always amused by people who consider themselves successful when at least part or all of their assets were inherited.  



Honored Advisor

Re: Question: what do call success?

Well, I do not consider receiving an inheritance to be a disqualifying factor in defining yourself as either a success or a failure. Just because you gain a legacy, does not make you especially privileged.

For some people, an inheritance or trust fund is a stifling influence on their initiative, something they blow and never look back. I have seen kids get too much money too young, and for precious few is it a good thing.

For us, the farms that we have ended up with that were family land have cost us huge sums in exchange. I could have bought a stranger's land far cheaper. And, never forget the strings that often come attached.

I think having children who do well as adults is an admirable goal...but, I have seen wonderful parents with kids who just don't fit into society all that well, too. Again, back to Linda's original question, What is success?

Are we only good parents if our kids meet a narrow, conformist definition? What if they hear a different drummer? Do we celebrate their march, or make them feel like a failure for being true to themselves?

Honestly, LA, this is in large part my problem with my own mother. She has never accepted that I want to farm instead of teaching, and the fact that I rejected the big, fancy house obsession infuriates her. The only " right" way to live is her way. I tried for 52 years. No more.

When you are the kid who is your family's failure, you learn to look for other measures of success than the ones that family hammered you over the head with, until they broke your spirit. I nearly gave up, and was not-so-slowly killing myself, up unil I escaped their judgmental pressure.

I say " escaped" like it is done, when, in fact, it is still something I struggle every day to do.

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Re: Question: what do call success?

I have a close relative who is a complete non conformist. Made some bad choices. Lives paycheck to paycheck. Always employed but not what one would consider a successful professional.

But on the criteria I mentioned in my earluer post above, I would consider this person successful beyond measure.

Never has a bad word to say about anyone.

Give you anything you need even if it meant doing without. Never selfish.

Always put family first. Loyal and trustworthy.

Deep faith. And lives it.

Hardworking. A maker not a taker.

Took his parents years to stop judging him against his "successful" siblings.

And by societal standards probably not successful. But most of us could only dream of living as Christ-like as he always has.

I stand by my statement that if my child is a good spouse and parent, gives back to society and does not live off of society, then I am a success. I ask for nothing more. That, not material assets, is my legacy.

As far as inherited assets, I have seen too many tout their "success" when it was someone else's sweat and tears that put them in the position to capitalize on those assets.

Yes, I admire managing and growing inherited assets. I Dont begrudge anyone those advantages. But too many BTOs wouldn't have a pit to pee in if not for Mommy or Daddy's land.

I respect and admire people who start with nothing but a dream and who make it happen through their own hard work and sacrifice.

Too many people are handed too much and take credit for an ancestors hard work. Sadly, some heirs Dont even show respect for the people who gave them their start.

Guess its just a pet peeve of mine. No offense intended to anyone who has inherited assets.
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Honored Advisor

Re: Question: what do call success?

Well, then, I guess I am okay, since the farm that came to me in my father's estate plan is a total wreck, more of an albatross around my neck, than any asset. It is going to take a lot on ingenuity to make it worth a tinker's **bleep**...
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Veteran Contributor

Re: Question: what do call success?

Obviously, I inherited the family farm.  I can say with certainty that anyone who inherited a small dryland farm in drought-stricken Colorado hasn't exactly hit the jackpot.  Smiley Happy  Receiving the Centennial Farm designation was a very proud day for me...not for myself but for my grandparents and parents.  I regret that none of them lived to see it.   Success for my grandparents was arriving at their homestead in Colorado by covered wagon in only 10 days though there was "nothing to see, but cactus and buffalo grass."  Certainly they felt a measure of success when they moved from the dugout Granddad and his bother lived in as squatters and Grandma was able to set up housekeeping in her new sod house.  They endured the Depression and the deaths of four children, but probably considered themselves successful when they sold the farm to my dad and built a new blacksmith shop in town.


I'm not sure my parents would have considered themselves "successful" but more fortunate to have lived a good, though modest life, on the farm and hung on to it through the dust bowl and years when their crops were destroyed by drought, hail, grasshoppers, or jackrabbits.  


Our "success" didn't come from inheriting the farm.  It came from my husband working his butt off at a job in town until his back couldn't do it anymore.  I would like to think that my work here on the farm contributed, but we wouldn't have made it without his job.  


We never got to do the traveling we dreamed of and never got to built the better house.  But, we had fun with our annual over-nighters to the mountains in autumn and  our half-day adventures off across the backroads for an afternoon and grabbing a bite to eat at someplace different than usual. Though we didn't built the new house, we've made improvements to the farm.   


In August, we celebrated 43 happy years of marriage with a beautiful daughter who is hard-working, caring and funny.  For the last five months, success to me has been being able to take care of myself and our animals, keep the farm going, and make it through one day at a time without him.        

Veteran Contributor

Re: Question: what do call success?

RE: inheritance


As someone whose family lived and lost in the depression era, and then worked to buy it back,  I'd say that farms and investments can be a sign of success and part of a legacy.  


They are the sign of families who worked hard together to overcome adversity and make it through. 

It reflects the wise use of resources and prudent investing.

Part of our legacy will be to tell the stories of our ancestors and the land they worked so hard for. 

Each farm has a name and a story and a history to be shared and respected. 


We are not embarrased that a small part of our assets were inherited.  

We were self-sufficient and financially independent before our inheritance.

We paid our dues.  We didn't need it.  We contribute heavily in our communities. 

We take no credit for the acquisition, but we do feel a responsibility to maintain it.

Are we any less a success, now that we've inherited something? 


Our inheritance was a gift from the heart from our ancestors who paid a heavy price.

We feel grateful, but we are not "living high on the hog" because of it. 


Life is not fair.  And not everyone will be on the receiving end of an inheritance.

I agree with you lawinkle that family is important and an extremely rewarding legacy. 

But I will not discount the hard work and planning and wise use of resources that our ancestors left for us as their legacy and the work we continue to put in to sustain it.








Honored Advisor

Re: Question: what do call success?

Here is a " pet peeve" of mine: I have had to bite my tongue for over thirty years, sbout how I know that one of my " successful" sisters slept with my other " successful" sister's husband. Yet, I am the black sheep of this dysfunctional family!
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Senior Contributor

Re: Question: what do call success?

Kay we know that life if not fair! But sometimes we can see the payback. I believe mine is paying a price now.


We have inherited and I believe we have used it wisely with hard work and now can pay it forward. 


  As we have seen here success is looked at differently by each of us. We raise our children to the best of our ability with the time and knowledge we have while they are in our homes for a short time. Then we have to watch and wait to see how their lives go without having any real new influences over them. When they reach middle age we begin to see the flaws in the marriages, the personality traits that came through their genes and the influence from the spouse who may have been raised differently.

There are things in life we have no control over.


If a person can reach post retirement age and have no big regrets and be content that is success.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Question: what do call success?

You bring up a thought I am having, too. I don't want this to sound like a pointed picking at what LA said, because I understand how she feels and I know she is proud of her family.

How is what your children do any different than what your parents do, in terms of measuring your own personal success? I have knkwn wonderful people, who came from terrible home life situations. Do our kids succeed because of us, or in spite of us? Then, do we take credit or blame?

Yes, we have some measure of influence over our children, but they eventually do reach a point where it's all up to them, isn't it? If you pick any point in time, the choices any generation makes are their own choices, and their judgment or their circumstances might change drastically, eventually.

Each generation has its own measure of free will to express. If you elders had something left over to leave you, does that make you a slouch for taking it?

In our cases here, we could have sold the land and skipped off into the sunset. Instead, we chose to stay and stick put all the strings that came with it...

...paying for lifelong support of one mother in exchange for one minority part of one place, dealing with a monumentally difficult environmental problem on the other. If this were just about dollars equals success, we would have been better off financially to buy the share outright here, simply walk away from the devastation there. Stewardship is extremely expensive.

This thread is really making me think. I think I wish I had had my children's compass for following my life's desires, at their ages. I am still muddling around, trying to figure out what I want to be " when I grow up"!

I hope something clicks soon.
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