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Richard Branson’s Mother: Give that Woman a Medal

August 4, 2009

My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them…from the perspective of wanting to live life to the full, I felt that I had to attempt it.”  Richard Branson

In some circles, Sir Richard Branson’s mother, Eve, would probably be considered neglectful and perhaps even abusive.  Yes, that Richard Branson – the British entrepreneur, adventurer, and philanthropist, best known for his Virgin brand (over 200 companies including Virgin Records and Virgin Atlantic Airways)  and his uncanny business acumen.  He’s currently listed at #261 on Forbes’ list of billionaires.  Now, you’re probably thinking, “Well, he certainly turned out well despite a tough childhood.”  But let me tell you why his  mother might be considered “un-motherly,” and then see if you agree that his success is not despite his mother, it’s at least partially because of  her .

According to an article in National Geographic Adventure, when Branson was four Eve left him by himself in the countryside with a sack lunch and an assignment – to find his way home (he managed to make it to a neighbor’s, where he was found chasing butterflies).  A few years later she dropped him and his bike off 50 miles from their home, again waving goodbye with the expectation that he would be home in a timely manner.

Now I have to say I’m not ready to do the same with my kids, even though they’re older than Branson was at the time.  Clearly, he grew up in a different time and place than my children are (you would literally have to be insane to do this in any metropolitan area in America; in addition to the threats of traffic and the possible appearance of an opportunistic ne’er-do-well, you’d have CPS all up in your business faster than the Cash for Clunkers funds disappeared).  

However, I do think I should probably challenge my kids to be a bit more independent…give them more opportunities to try something that makes them a bit nervous…even push them to rely on their own ingenuity and instincts in an uncomfortable situation or two.  It’s not that I want to raise the next Richard Branson (although I certainly wouldn’t discourage it, especially considering the fact he’s not only outrageously successful, he’s also clearly well-adjusted, seemingly very happy, and a philanthropist to boot).  I just think that going out of my way to foster my kids’ spirit of adventure and independent accomplishment sounds like a very good thing.

Eve, I think the world owes you a big, fat, “Thank you.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bobby Israel permalink
    August 8, 2009 8:20 am

    My Mom once left me off in the woods, but for an entirely different reason.
    ( I found my way back anyway )

  2. savvymomsafekids permalink*
    August 10, 2009 7:22 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to add your comment. So glad you found your way back and have since grown into a man savvy enough to read this blog. Perhaps your mother deserves a medal, too.

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