During my extremely enlightening interview with Dr. Michael V. Roberts, Sr., he explained that while he didn’t require his children to work for the family businesses (the hotels & resorts, the aviation company, the television stations, the real estate developments…etc), he imparted upon them their freedom to work for companies outside of those under their company’s umbrella of businesses; but that their obligation was to experience and learn all they could while working for those companies and bring back their newly developed skills and insights for the betterment of their family company. This lesson struck me particularly deeply, for many reasons.pic for blog 12 MotherDaugtherINC_General2

First I must say that Dr. Roberts is one of my favorite businessmen and serves as a phenomenal role model for me. He personifies what it means to build family dynasty and legacy, my goal as an entrepreneur and mother; which brings us to the point of our talk today. Dr. Roberts’ emphasis of the importance of his children developing skills with the ultimate objective to bring their skills back for the growth and advancement of what belonged to them, The Roberts Companies, is where I’d like to focus today’s talk.

Once my beloved grandmother, Veona Shackelford (a.k.a. Moma a.k.a. The Love of My Life), and I were talking about my goal of establishing a diverse portfolio of successful businesses, in which my children could exercise whatever gifts and talents they have, while making an excellent living within a company in which they have 100% interest; because it belongs to them. They would never have to go through the agony of taking on a job just to pay for their family’s basic needs, while neglecting their true desires and innate gifts. No, Sir; no, Ma’am. Their parents will have done the work of building the empire in which they’d work out all of their dreams and carry on the legacy and wealth for centuries and generations to come.

100325 Atlanta, Ga., -- The Russell Brothers of H.J. Russell & Company, CEO Michael Russell, left, and President H. Jerome (glasses) pose for a photograph in front of one of their most recent projects JC Young Middle School Thursday morning in Atlanta, Ga., March 25, 2010. H.J. Russell Company is still working on the grounds of the school but the building is complete with students and staff moving into the building last January 2010. The H.J. Russell Company, like many other construction companies, is in survival mode. The brothers work hard everyday to make sure the company lives to fight another day. Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com
100325 Atlanta, Ga., — The Russell Brothers of H.J. Russell & Company, CEO Michael Russell, left, and President H. Jerome (glasses)

My grandmother’s perspective was that there have been plenty of parents who’ve worked hard to build thriving businesses with the hopes that one day their children would take them over; but as soon as the parents die or get ill, the children would sell or just let the businesses go. Unfortunately, I saw this happen, myself more times than I’d like to admit.

pic for blog 12 magic-johnsonWe had a family friend whose mother established several highly successful daycares. The daycares were very popular in our hometown and did quite well. Tragically, his mother was diagnosed with cancer; but she taught him all there was to know about the daycare industry and prepared him for the day when she wouldn’t be around to manage the family’s business. I’m not sure if he didn’t like the daycare industry, didn’t feel equipped, or if there was just too much pain associated with running the business that reminded him of his mother; but he sold the business after she died. Last I checked, he was doing well with his own family: a wife and children, and a job. A job, … damn ….

pic for blog 12 MotherDaugtherINC_GeneralIt hurt me to know that this beautiful young brother no longer had the resources, the knowledge, the assets, the legacy of this chain of daycares his mother had left him to pass on to his children and use to branch off into whatever areas of interest were dearest to him. But, Dr. Robert’s point of instilling within his children the since of ownership, gratitude, and responsibility to carry on what he and his brother have worked so hard to establish for them, is something that I hope we will all duplicate as we create our own respective family legacies. There’s a lot more to discuss on this topic, just from that interview with Dr. Roberts, but for now, let’s focus on preparing our children mentally and skillfully for the success we’re working for on their behalf today. That preparation will make a world of difference when it’s time to pass on the baton.

What are your thoughts? Do you also have examples like this to share? Moreover, do you have strategies others can use to prevent this from happing to their family’s legacy? Leave your comments below and share this article with a friend using the #RaisingBlackMillionaires. If you missed Saturday’s article, here it is: What To Teach My Children About Credit. Until next time, be fruitful.

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