I have a whiteboard in my office. It was provided by the company from whom I rent my office – Office Evolution. I have offices all over the Denver Area and the Front Range, because I can use all of their locations. I love the professionalism of this workspace, and it really is what allows me to be a completely mobile estate planning attorney. And although this whiteboard came with my office, I never really had a good use for it until about 5 years ago when I brought my oldest daughter along with me to work on “Bring Your Child to Work” day. My last appointment of the day was with a couple who needed a trust-based estate plan. While this was very important to the potential clients, my then 7-year-old daughter was less excited.
While I discussed a trust with the couple, and we discussed the various aspects of the estate plan they needed and wanted to set up, my daughter decided that she was going to draw on the whiteboard. She started drawing a water park, probably based on Highland Hills Water World, which she had thoroughly enjoyed when we went to the water park previously. Some of the attractions she drew were taken directly from the rides she knew, like the “Storm” ride that she loves at Water World, but she had some other rides that were of her own imagination.
Involving My Clients
Eventually, my daughter decided that my meeting was way too boring, and she needed to bring me and the couple with whom I was meeting into the creative process. She had set up a concession stand, and she needed to know what we would like to eat. The couple were good sports and played along. We came up with a whole menu. My daughter was entertained, the whiteboard got used, and the couple hired me to do their estate planning work. An all-around success!
Saving The Whiteboard Drawings
I never got to erasing the water park. The next time my children came to visit me at the office, they added to the water park. Three years ago, my middle daughter added in the “Criy Slide,” where you apparently go in the eyes and come out in the belly of a person. That seemed a little bit disturbing to me, but it came from the innocent mind of a child, so I love it just the way it is.
Over the last five years, they add to the display every time they come to visit me. My two daughters plan weeks in advance of what they want to add to the water park drawing. I cannot think of a better use of my whiteboard, so the water park drawing has been growing for over 5 years now.
I haven’t erased the misspelled words, or corrected anything, as the whiteboard water park is almost like a time capsule of my children’s growth. A couple of years ago, my middle daughter added the “Slide of Doom” that is 22 feet tall. Apparently, the 22-foot tall drop was extremely frightening to an 8-year-old girl. I may not find that type of drop to be DOOM, but to her it was DOOM, so I keep it. The whiteboard has much more meaning to me as a way of knowing my children than as a whiteboard, so I keep it as originally created.
My Children are my Most Valuable Asset
I want to encourage my children to find joy and happiness in creating and growing however I can. As I always say, “My children are my most valuable asset. Not income producing – quite the opposite – but definitely the most valuable asset.” I think most people feel this way, and people want what is best for their children. I was able to give my children the use of my whiteboard since I don’t use it in my work. The whiteboard drawing gives my children joy in the otherwise boring (to them) world of estate planning and my work.
Estate Planning – It’s For Your Family
My whiteboard is for my kids, not me. In that respect, my whiteboard is sort of like an estate plan. Whether your family needs powers of attorney to make decisions for you when you cannot, or allows your family to know what you want to have happen at the end of life, or simply gives an orderly way to distribute assets at your death, as the estate plan is for your family. A good estate plan allows your family to care for you when you cannot for yourself. It allows them to know your wishes and carry them out. And, it allows them time to figure out what to do with money after you are gone.
I take care of my kids by letting them use my whiteboard, how do you take care of your kids now? Let me know in the comments below.