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Heroes, Big and Small

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June 14, 2016

I mentioned when I first started my newsletters that I wanted to share more than just financial advice. This month I’ve decided to tell you a personal story about someone I admire.

The story took place about 2 years ago when my granddaughter Evelyn was just about to turn five years old. Judy and I had recently moved into a new house with a pool. We’d already enjoyed it a few times, but we were looking forward to having our children and grandchildren living in Toronto up for a visit – they’d be seeing the new place and the pool for the first time.

So we were getting everything ready for the visit, and Evelyn was helping us. While Judy was working to get other things ready, Evelyn and I worked on cleaning and setting up the pool area so it would look its best. We cleaned out the pool and made sure the furniture looked good. Then we turned on the pool lights to make sure they worked and since everyone was arriving later, we tried out the pool-side lighting in the garden area.

Before the rest of the family arrived, Evelyn decided to go in the pool and have a swim. She slipped and fell and hurt her bottom and ran out of the pool screaming. Her father – my son Jacob – and I could not console her and she seemed to be over-reacting to the fall, as it didn’t seem to be major. We finally calmed her down and she explained that it hurt all over, not just where she fell. It didn’t seem to make sense, but that was her story.

So we stayed in and watched TV until the rest of the family arrived. When they did arrive, the grandkids were pretty excited to be visiting the Kingston families and to go in the pool for the first time. So everyone got their bathing suits on and went outside for a dip.

Before we all jumped in, Evelyn said she didn’t want anyone to go into the pool because it hurt her. No one understood what she wanted but she stopped her younger cousins from jumping in the pool and insisted that she go in first. She barely touched the water when she pulled back, screaming in pain.

No one could figure out what was wrong, so I decided to show her that there was nothing to worry about. I dipped my toe in and I felt it right away – electricity. There was an electrical current running through the pool – and Evelyn stopped everyone from getting in and sacrificed herself to make sure no one else had to suffer. An almost-five year old.

So I turned off the lights both inside and around the pool area and retested the waters. No problem. Soon, the source of the electrical leak was found, an electrician came out and fixed it. Despite this, a new rule was made that Granddad always had to check the water before anyone went in. There has never been a problem since, but the rule is still in force.

Evelyn didn’t want anyone to suffer like she had, and was willing to put herself at risk so no one else was hurt. When I think about what could have happened, it causes me great pain to know she had to go through that. Twice. She will always be my hero.

Evelyn reminds me that you don’t have to big and strong to be brave – and that it’s amazing what we will do to protect the people we love.

If you have a hero, I’d love to hear about it. They are everywhere, all shapes and sizes and ages.

My next issue will be about flying to Vancouver from Toronto this past January. I spent 5 hours speaking with my sister and the trip was educational and interesting. This will be a continuation of April blog and newsletter Building a Sustainable Family Legacy.

If there is a topic you would like to hear more on, please drop me a line. And don’t forget get caught up on my previous blogs and newsletters here. (There are only a few.)


Michael's Book Shelf

“It’s Your Ship” by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff

Find it on or at your local bookshop.


Founding Partner | Financial Planner
Michael Caldwell has been helping people sort through their money issues since the early 1970s. He has a way of talking numbers that just makes sense. Combined with wry humour and a curious mind, Michael writes about current topics of interest to the clients that he works with in his practice at Caldwell Wealth & Estate Advisory.

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on Heroes, Big and Small.
  1. |

    What a great story Michael! It shows that character is not something that we have to grow into or can only display when we are older, but something that answers the ‘this is not right’ voice in our head and compels us to action.

  2. |

    They say the foundation of one’s personality is more or less developed by age 5. Evelyn is a special little girl!

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