Saturday, April 25, 2009

Billion Dollar Bonds

Every father wants an exceptional child. Exceptionalism, however, comes at a price. In his new book, "Showing Up For Life," Bill Gates Sr. details the price he paid (as well as some of the satisfactions) for some of that exceptionalism.

Gates, father of Microsoft Bill G. Jr., explains how he had to learn to let go of his son, and not just because of the family famous water-thrown-in-the-face-during-dinner incident. By about 13 the proto-billionaire was on his own intellectually and sometimes physically as well. The key to the relationship they have today, however, was making sure a bond of trust and love continued. That bond may not be as much as the one between the father and his daughter who bit the cops who arrested him or of son Thomas and alleged serial killer Drew Peterson as the son explains his mom's death with, "accidents happen" while insisting his father is "the world's greatest dad." However, the bond between the Gates is certainly on display in happier circumstances as the father, 83, has worked for his son for 10-plus years, guiding the philanthropic efforts he is now handing over to his "retired" child.

Maybe it is the father, not the son, who is really exceptional?

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