Gujam was a very successful businessman. He had built himself up from nothing –self-made, you may say.
He received accolades out there; The Times today, The Herald tomorrow, The Ovation next week. He was a known socialite, a philanthropist, a light in the room, the life of the party.
Those who knew him the least came to like and respect him the most. And that was where his problem laid.
His family, those who knew him the most, liked and respected him the least. His son was a brat. He had come to learn how to fill up his life with so much mind-numbing entertainment, as to drown out the effect of his father’s absence from his life.
He grew up wanting so badly to spend some quality time with his father. Daddy was always busy out there; slaying the day, making things happen, building corporations, training employees and mentoring successors –instilling in them the values which he had neglected to instill in his son.
His son turned sixteen that year, and Gujam thought it was time to begin to induct him into his lifestyle; for him to have his ‘coming out’ party, to meet daddy’s friends, to socialize, to start building his “fingers” in life –those who would be instrumental in ‘feeding’ him as he ascended the totem pole of dad’s empire, effortlessly.
So, Gujam threw an elaborate party for his son’s sixteenth birthday, and invited all his friends in high places. His son, of course, invited his own friends, who were much like him –semi-fatherless sons, who had learnt to fill that void with mind-numbing entertainment, constantly amusing themselves to death.
As expected, they acted out as the recalcitrant teenagers that they were. They partied hard that night, they chugged ounces of alcohol down their underage throats. They got drunk, wasted, they had a good time. They were numbed from the absent-minded presence of their fathers, who were more concerned about making connections at the party than minding those whom they were there to celebrate in the first place.
The youngsters went for a spin in Gujam’s son’s new ride; the CLS 350 daddy had gifted him to mark the occasion. Like the drunken teenagers that they were, they crashed the car without even pulling out completely from the party venue. They were in the gutter, still laughing sheepishly at the foolishness they had just accomplished.
Gujam was embarrassed that night, in the presence of his friends! He was furious, fuming, raging and complaining angrily. “What kind of son do I have? Why won’t he appreciate the gift I gave to him? Why is he such a –”
One of his associates cut him off in his tirade. He made a calm but astonishing remark to Gujam: “At least he hasn’t crashed the expensive gift yet”.
“What do you mean?” A confused Gujam retorted. His friend continued calmly:
“You gave your son a vehicle but spent no time with him to teach him to drive. So, he’s crashed it in protest to your stupidity of expecting him to know what to do with the things you constantly throw at him to make yourself look good.
Soon, you will need to hand over your businesses to him –a very expensive gift –and if you don’t spend time now, teaching him to handle them, the gutter will be too small a chasm to swallow that mighty crash that will see to the end of your name and legacy.
Start spending time, working hard, to make sure that those who know you the most –your family and close friends –like and respect you the most. And stop this foolishness of striving to always look good on the outside, seeking the love and respect of only those who know you from afar.
Life is too short, and yours is supposed to be shorter than his. But look at him in that gutter. How long do you think he has to live? Start instilling the right values in that young boy today. Start spending a lot more time with him. That will elongate both your legacy and even his life.”
Gujam left the party that night with a new knowledge of who his true friends were, as well as with a conviction that he had been wrong all along to think that he was doing the best for his son by leaving him all day only to return at night with a shiny new toy that was supposed to join the rest in filling the void that his continuous absence caused.