An Investment Advisor Talks About How Money Can't Buy Dreams

Myiah is my nine-year-old mentee who lives in the West End of Rock Island with her family which includes 11 brothers and sisters.  No one in Myiah’s family has ever graduated from high school, let alone post-secondary school.  She is smart as a whip!  Curious and engaging, Myiah reads several years above her grade level, loves me to quiz her on her math facts (at which she performs flawlessly) and is hungry to learn as much as she can from the libraries and museums we visit.  I have mentored Myiah for 3 years and our conversations address not “IF”, but “WHEN” she attends college.  To that end, I wanted to give this beautiful little girl a “snapshot” to carry around in her head of “Myiah at college”.  I am an Augie grad, so I recently arranged to take Myiah to campus.  We toured a dorm room, the library, a classroom, the cafeteria and the student union.  We both thoroughly enjoyed the experience.


As usual, I went to school last week to eat lunch and play with Myiah on Thursday.  Everytime I go, the other students in her class mob me and ask me if I’ll “take me this time”.   I have to lovingly explain to each child that I am Myiah’s “special friend”.  The response is always the same: “I want a ‘special friend’ too!”  It is gut-wrenching.  Last week, the children in the 4th grade had hung their latest art projects on the wall in the hall outside their classroom and all of them were eager to show off their creations to me.  Each child had drawn a black line down the center of a horizontal sheet of construction paper.  There were no names on the sheets.  On the left side, each student had decorated that space with a self-portrait.  On the right side of each sheet, the students had written a “clue” and underneath the children had cut out construction paper rectangles, folded back a small flap and glued the strip to cover up the “answer” to the clue above.  Each paper had 4 clues and 4 strips of paper hiding answers.  The object was to look at the picture, read the clues and answers and try to guess the identity of the artist.


All of the kids had done a remarkable job, but Myiah’s project was special.  Her picture showed a huge smile and all her braids and barrettes.  Her first clue said, “My family looks like” and uncovering the flap showed a picture of her family members.  Next was, “My favorite things are”.  I flipped the strip back and saw pictures of her bike, books and candy.  The third clue was, “My favorite foods are”.  Myiah drew pictures of Whitey’s bubblegum shakes (I could tell by the pink ice cream plus I have first-hand knowledge that this is her “go-to favorite”), pizza and strawberries.  The last clue on each child’s sheet was, “When I grow up, I want”.  All the children clamored for me to “see” their dreams: “I want a big house.”, “I want to play in the NBA.”, “I want to be rich.”  I turned to Myiah, who was standing by shyly.  I asked her what she wanted when she grew up.  She gave me the most beautiful smile and invited me, “Look!”  I looked.  “I want to go to college!”  My heart filled and I had to turn my head quickly so she wouldn’t see the tears rolling down my face…


Solutions for Balance and Certainty