All of us are who we are today because others invested in us. I think about all the people in my family that have invested in me. My grandfather was very disciplined. He had a very strong work ethic. He taught me by example the importance of being diligent and giving every job my very best. My grandmother was so full of joy. I never saw her upset. She constantly had a song of praise coming up out of her heart. She is a big part of who I am today. She's one of the main reasons why I smile practically all the time.
Growing up, my mother not only loved and cared for us children, but every day before we left for school she would say, "Father, thank You that my children have Your favor wherever they go." I learned to expect God's favor from my mother. You know what I'm doing today? Telling other people to believe for God's favor.
My father was constantly telling me how great he thought I was and how I could do anything. He took time to mentor me. He was busy, but he still gave me his attention. As a little boy, he used to go up to the hospital to visit people that were sick. He would always take me with him. He would have me join hands with the family when we prayed.
As a teenager, I would come down to the church during the summer and sit in meetings with him at the office. Half the time I didn't know what was going on. But on the way home, he'd always explain it. "Joel, this is what we were doing. This is the reason we were doing it." He didn't have to. He had a lot going on, but he understood that he had a responsibility to pass on everything he possibly could. My father did his best to teach me everything he knew and sometimes things he didn't know.
I think about how in Victoria's family they've had a special recipe that's been in the family line for four or five generations. It's called Senator Russell's Sweet Potatoes. They are the best sweet potatoes in the world. They've got a crust of cinnamon, sugar and nuts. We don't even like the sweet potatoes. We just like the crust! But what happened is that somebody came up with that great recipe generations back. They could have thought, "This is my special dish. I'm just going to keep it to myself." No, they were living with the mindset that "I've got to pass down everything good I possibly can." So one day that mother taught her daughter the recipe and that daughter taught her daughter. Eventually, it got down to Georgine, my mother–in–law. She taught her daughter, Victoria. Now, every Thanksgiving, Victoria and our daughter are in the kitchen making Senator Russell's Sweet Potatoes.
Let me ask you, are you transferring your wisdom, your experiences, your shortcuts, your recipes down to the next generation so they can start ahead of you?