There Is No “Fast Forward” Button

Last week we looked at the fact that people sometimes wish that they had the ability to hit the “Rewind” button in their life, but that outside of Hollywood, this was not something that is available to ordinary people (or even extra-ordinary people).

As I wrapped up, I promised to follow up with the mirror image of the Rewind button, which as we all remember from our 1970’s tape recorders or our 1990’s VCRs, is the “Fast Forward” button.

There are likely more people who wish they could hit Rewind than Fast Forward, based on two simple facts: our own mortality often makes us prefer to slow things down rather than speed things up, plus the fact that what has already occurred in the past is known, while the future is at best an educated guess.

Last week I made the tie-in to business families by talking about how family relationships sometimes get “stuck” because some family members hang on to past issues far longer than they probably should, and well past the point of their usefulness.

Some of you may be wondering how I am planning to make the family business question tie in to the Fast Forward button. Here goes…

Unfortunately, this subject forces us to look at a topic that most people prefer to avoid discussing, and it is one that was mentioned in passing a bit earlier. If you guessed that I was talking about mortality, take a bow.

Before I get to the ultra-frank wording of the manifestation of this problem, I want to tell you that it is something that I have seen far too often, and it breaks my heart every time.

For the past few years, even as my kids were only reaching their teens, I told them many times that even though I don’t yet know specifically “how” I am going to do it, I am determined to arrange my affairs in such a way that they will never be placed in a situatiuon where they will be hoping for me and their mother to die.

And that is the big Fast Forward button that too many people secretly wish that they could push.

Of course nobody will admit this, at least not out loud. Most will not even admit it to themselves. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening all around us, every day.

I did not wish for my father to die, as he left us, seven years ago, at the age of 72, but I sometimes wonder what my life would be like today if he were still with us. I truly hate to admit this, but I honestly do not think that I would be as happy as I am today if he were still around. (Wow, did I actually really just write that?)

There must be a really good reason for me to share this with readers, and there is. Knowing what I know now, about the importance of allowing each generation to rise and become everything they can be, is what I truly want and need to share.

This is not saying that my father was a bad person, in fact, in many ways, it says more about me, and my part in my relationship with my father, and my not having the courage to put what I needed on the table for discussion.

We did not have anyone that we knew at our disposal to help us have the important conversations that we should have been having.

It’s not that I would have pushed the Fast Forward button, but how many people out there secretly wish they could?

You don’t have the excuse that I did, about not having anyone at your disposal to help you have those key conversations, because you do. You are reading his blog right now.