A father who had no interest in the lives of his sons and daughters was the model for an enlightened and kinder dad who is now teaching his kids about empathy and compassion.
“I was a good father,” he said.
“You don’t know what your children want.
I was a nice father.
I taught my children empathy.”
His son, Jonathan, now 15, and daughter, Charlotte, are all on track to graduate from college and start families of their own, while his oldest son, Zach, now 26, is working to get his first job in the financial sector.
“There’s no doubt I was the best dad in my life,” Jonathan said.
“He’s taught me how to live the way I want to live.
I’ve been doing it now for 15 years.”‘
I didn’t know if I could do it’In 2004, Jonathan and his wife, Kelly, were living in an old house in the suburbs of Atlanta.
He worked in a gas station as a cashier.
After he got married, he started a business that made food.
But after a couple of years, he got into financial difficulties.
“My income was way below my ability to support my family, and I was in a financial crisis,” he recalled.
“It was very difficult.
I didn’t have a plan, I was trying to figure out how to pay my bills.
My daughter was at home at the time.”
Jonathan started working at a local Walmart, and eventually he found a job with a local company, helping to run a cash register, which paid a decent wage.
But he didn’t always get paid on time.
“We were having a lot of people come in and out of our shop,” he recounted.
“Every time, there were days where the cashier would leave their check out the door.”
One day, a customer asked Jonathan to bring some money for the day.
“The cashier said ‘I don’t have any money, can you come back in tomorrow?'” he said, chuckling.
Jonathan asked the cashiers’ supervisor to give him a little more cash for the check, but he wasn’t happy with the answer.
“He said ‘You’re not going to come back until we get paid,'” Jonathan recalled.
Jonathan was furious.
“Why would I have to come in tomorrow if I was going to get paid?” he asked his supervisor.
“Because I’m the one who didn’t do anything.
I went back and made the call.”
The supervisor didn’t give him the answer he was looking for, so Jonathan brought the customer a check from the bank, but the check was never returned.
He went on to ask the supervisor for another $3.50.
He was told, “I’m not going back.”
The manager told him, “You’re going to have to take it.”
The next day, he called again.
“How much are you going to give me?” he demanded.
“And I said, ‘I want the money back.'”
The manager responded, “OK, we’ll give you $2,000, that’s your money.”
Jonathan walked out of the store with $5,000 in his pocket.
He told his boss to make sure he got the check back, but after the cash registers were closed, he never saw it again.
Jonathan eventually gave up the cash register business, but continued to work at Walmart, even though he was on the payroll, and even though his income was so low.
“That was the start of me having a financial emergency,” he told Newsweek.
“If you’re on the bottom of the pyramid, you don’t go into debt.”
It’s a story of extreme poverty for a father who, like millions of other Americans, struggled to find a job and had to rely on his children to help him.
But in the eyes of his own son, the story of a father in dire financial straits was a sign of progress.
“When my dad left, I thought, ‘Wow, I’m going to be a better father,'” Zach said.
His mother was also a financial expert, but she said she didn’t take much interest in her son’s plight.
“They are both in the workforce, and she’s working,” she said.
Zach and his mother have had an incredible amount of support.
When he was a teenager, Zach was on his own and was living in a trailer park.
When the family was forced to move, Zach started attending the school he attended, and he became a student leader.
Zach’s father was also on the unemployment line, and Zach said he used to make $6.50 an hour at the job.
“But I had to start saving for college and paying for my own car,” Zach said, recalling his family’s struggles.
“So I started saving.”
But in the years since, the Zach and Kelly family have seen their financial situation worsen.
“People who were on the margins were now being in