Thursday, June 8, 2017

It's a family thing

Good Thursday afternoon, friends.  We've been experiencing some unseasonably mild weather this week--even cool, based on the chill I felt during my grandson's T-ball game last night!

Fathers and sons and grandsons and the like are the core of my thoughts today.  We're nearing the end of this grandson's T-ball season, so we've come to know (or at least recognize) most of the players' family members who attend.  And we're not the only grandparents who attend, either, which I think is great.

Growing up, my grandparents all lived at least two hours away, and as they aged we saw less and less of them.  One, a maiden aunt who raised my father, never drove, so it was a much greater effort for her to visit, as she would have to either ride a bus or rely on a ride from another family member for transportation.

But for those kids on the team (or in any of our grandkids' schools, for that matter) are so fortunate to have extended family close by.

That said, I don't know that the dynastic approach always guarantees success.  Sometimes it works very well.  A good example for me, anyway, is my beloved Cincinnati Reds.  A couple of years ago the team announced that Dick Williams, who is the son of one of the minority owners of the team, was to take over this season as the team's general manager and president of baseball operations.  In the second year of a multi-year rebuilding effort, the Reds are playing the kind of hustling baseball that fans enjoy and embrace, and were it not for a series of major arm injuries to starting pitchers the team would likely sit atop the Central Division standings.

Another pretty fair example that I can think of is that of is the S.C. Johnson Company, formerly known as Johnson Wax.  The CEO of this company is Herbert Fisk Johnson III, who is the fifth generation of the Johnson family to lead this corporation.  If you're having difficulty placing the company name, look around your house, as you probably have some Windex or Pledge or Ziploc bags or Glad air fresheners or a host of other products.  They have strategically acquired competitors and yet maintained their status as a private company that employs about 13,000 people and sells about $7 billion in goods each year.

The Coppola family business is the film industry, with patriarch Francis Ford Coppola a much-decorated movie director, best known for the "Godfather" films.  His daughter Sofia has overcome the misfortune of being cast in the third "Godfather" picture to become a recognized film director in her own right.

I could go on with more positive examples, but I think the most glaring negative one is that of the family currently occupying the White House.  Donald Trump was elected President, yet he felt it necessary to install both daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner as official White House adviser, leaving grown sons Donald Jr. and Eric to run the family business.  Kushner allegedly has a massive portfolio of responsibilities yet I don't know that anyone can specifically identify anything he has been able to accomplish.  Ditto for the First Daughter.

And the Trump sons?  I suppose they've been successful, as the Trump Organization continues to grow and profit despite the absence of their father in day-to-day operations.  What their business is appears to be that of simply making money from spreading the Trump name onto real estate properties and such around the world.

Will there be notable achievements?  Hard to say.  Will there be questions?  Undoubtedly.  Is the next chapter easy to predict?  Nope.

Guess we'll have to see what comes next.



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