A note on family, business, and perspectives...
I heard all about this. I heard the day it happened because we have a family business, kids, and so much going on each day to make all the pieces work together.
It’s two guys, their wives, and seven kids between us, a Custom Window & Design business, a Real Estate business, and the launch of Silverline Inc. This year it’s been all hands on deck. Literally. All of them. Right down to little eight-year-old, Max, who can sweep, tighten light bulbs, pull weeds...whatever it is, he’s on it. Alex, the only girl that’s at home right now deals with boys and construction, and showing houses non-stop, but she handles it like a trooper. She can pull a stray kitty out of the woodwork and is happy wherever she has to spend the day. We’ve had our share of laughs, tears, long days and long nights, and everyone has their part in all this. Our two middle school boys, Grant and Jack, keep us on our toes. If you give those two a backpack of weed killer and a sprayer, expect the unexpected, and “break time” during a demo project will include markers and middle school artwork on pieces of drywall and scrap wood, but all in all, it’s been fun to mesh family and business, and to all be a part of something that is “ours”. A business that provides, (the oldest of the group, Adrianne is away for her freshman year of college) and a business that creates “home” for families in North and South Carolina. Our two oldest boys Zach and Micaiah, both started driving this year, and that is a huge help, but also a big step toward adult-hood, and a deep breath, and a big step back for a mom and dad. Lynnette called me one morning and told me that her son Zach had just called her and told her he hit a mailbox on the way to school. He more like TOOK OUT the mailbox, but either way he was ok, no one was hurt, and he just didn’t know what to do. I think with this new stage of parenting, I am learning every day to let these kids do more and more for themselves, because it’s the only way you can truly grow them ... and Lynnette’s response was a perfect example of that. I’m guessing, if I had gotten the call, I probably would have jumped into my car before even hanging up, ran to the tragic mailbox scene, took my kid to the front door, and then felt proud when he told the owner what happened. But Lynnette did something a little different. She pushed her baby bird right out of the nest. She told Zach to go knock on the door, tell the owner what happened, and fix it… And then she hung up and went to work. The funny thing is...Zach did. He handled it all by himself, and life moved on. When I was teasing him about the damage on his car a few days later, I asked him how it went, and he told me it was fine. He took the mailbox home, fixed it and put it back up. That moment was a great mental note for me. A reminder that no matter how we parent, or what our personalities lend themselves to, when our kids make mistakes, there is something to be said for letting them fix it while they are still under our care. NOT stepping in, NOT telling them what to do and how to do it, but just knowing that everything we’ve taught is going to get used in a real life situation; pushing them out of the nest. Fly or fall, swim or sink, the first time they are in those type situations should be while they are still with us! It gives us the chance to cheer them on when they succeed, and it gives them the confidence and the character they need to face the bigger things life will throw at them someday. I haven’t used the Nextdoor App, but at a party the other night, some ladies were talking about the story floating around on social media about the teenager and the mailbox. We found it, and I can imagine how proud this made Lynnette and Mark. The comments under the story were as heartwarming as the post, and not only did this man’s words confirm that stepping back was the right thing to do, he also spoke into the sixteen years of work ethic that has been poured into Zach. This kid is talented in so many ways, but Zach also knows a trade. He has skills that he can use for the rest of his life, and as a sixteen year old, Zach now knows how to correct a mistake and make it right. The man who tells the story of exactly what happened, told it best, so I am going to just copy it, word for word. But first, as we enter the holiday season, and the end of this crazy first year of business, our Silverline family believes that family and friends are two of God’s greatest gifts, and we are thankful for all of ours, and the small part we get to play in yours. We pray through each structure we build, and for the people that will call it “home”. Our hearts desire is that the next generation will be stronger and bolder than the one before. And to this man who so kindly took the time to tell the story of Zach and the mailbox, we don’t know who you are either, but thank you! We will cherish it always.
“My doorbell rang about 7:30 this past Friday morning. A young man, I'd guess about 16 or 17, was standing there. "Um, I just hit your mailbox," he said. We went out and looked at it, and it was pretty much wrecked. He'd moved the pieces out of the driveway and the road. "I'll fix it for you. I'll be back today after school." While not exactly thrilled that my mailbox was in splinters, I was impressed that h Mailbox e'd stopped and owned up to his mistake. Not many people would. After he left, I took the street numbers off the sides of the post.
That afternoon around 4PM he came back, gathered up the loose pieces and loaded them up in his car. "I'll do most of the work at home, and then I'll bring it back here and install it."
Saturday afternoon he showed up with a friend. They worked for more than an hour, did an exceptionally neat job, and frankly, the repair is in a lot better shape than the original was. My mailbox now sits on a freshly-primed post, installed straight as an arrow without any hint of wobble, ready for me to apply a coat of paint and put the street numbers back on.
I've never been one to diss millennials, and this young man and his friend are perfect examples of why no one should. He may have made a mistake, but he was honest, responsible and prompt in making things right. Frankly, he was a lot more honest and did better work than the self-employed handymen I've encountered recently.
I didn't get his name. I didn't ask, and he didn't volunteer it. But I hope he sees this post. Great kid. I'd be proud to call him my son.”