Several months ago, I spent some time working with my oldest son, Ben. At the time, he was helping me rehab an investment property. We were tackling a task that we have never done before – installing cabinets in a kitchen. Here is a picture of the work in progress and the finished kitchen:
On this project, we did a lot of thinking out loud – “If we rip this here, and shim this there…” We almost work as one – passing tools before asked, completing one another’s sentences. Not calling a cabinet hung until we’ve found the studs to anchor the piece securely to the wall. There is no talk of ‘good enough’. He is the son of an engineer. He is, in many ways, better than his father – and that makes me smile.
Looking back on our time together, I realize that we have both been pupils at the Rental Property University – Learning lessons of investment, of acquiring and building wealth slowly, the embrace of hard work, and the eventual fruit of persistence. Ben has developed remodeling skills that he will use on his own house someday- and quite probably his own investment properties.
We have been stretched to try things that we have only seen on HGTV or U-tube. We saw how well-done work produces best in class properties, happy tenants and culminates in a profitable business.
There are larger lessons to be learned, though. As father and son, we are bound together in so many ways, but time working together on a common task strengthens our relationship in ways that perhaps nothing else can.
Co-laboring is one of the rare activities that forges strong relationships. I have seen it in work, volunteering, and at home. The opportunity to work together with someone is the opportunity to build lasting bonds of friendship.
And so, I’ll ask: Is there person that you would like to get closer to? Perhaps a loved one, friend or co-worker? Is there someone with whom you would like to have more influence? I suggest that you look for opportunities to work with this person on tasks or projects that meet real needs. Working side-by-side is one of the best ways to grow closer to someone than you have ever imagined.
How has working with others changed and enriched your relationship with them?