the first day . . . . . "elbows and knees"

Today is the first day of school for my daughters. One is a sophomore in high school and the other is starting middle school. I know for some of you, school started weeks ago. Well, regardless of when, the situation is the same. We all go through the preparation, the planning, the registering, the fee-paying, school supplies and clothes shopping, etc. Then the day draws closer, the last day of summer dawns, the night before comes. After all of the preparation, the reality of new classes, new teachers, new schools, new friends, tests and quizzes sets in. A little anxiety (or a lot) comes to mind. That's when we pray. We trust. 

As my daughters start back today, I have the innate feelings of my responsibility. My natural instincts and priorities are to: provide, protect and lead. These are my objectives and my role in my family. As most parents, we seek to provide for our families. Provide them not only with material things, but with love, confidence, self-worth and a place of serenity so they can grow to be strong and independent. We want to provide them with opportunities and freedom to pursue the gifts and talents that were given to them. 

We also want to protect them. I can't tell you how strong this emotion is in me. Maybe it's because I have daughters, but I would do anything to protect them. I have a phrase that I created and I tell my girls, "elbows and knees." It stands for two things. One, the elbows and knees are the hardest parts of your body. Use them to defend yourself physically if necessary. Second, it is a philosophy for life. Many things in our lives will push us down. Will attempt to discourage and make us feel less than. The road to achieving our dreams and goals will be difficult (if the dream is worth pursuing); thus, we must be willing to do the work. To dig in. To fight back against a world that seems to push. We must use our "elbows and knees."

Last but not least, we must lead our families. We cannot rely on the world, the schools, church or the government to teach our kids how to live, how to treat others, how to achieve, how to love, etc. That is our jobs as parents. 

How does this relate to state taxes?

Well, state tax compliance, audits or planning can sometimes cause anxiety. That's when we are instincts to provide, protect and lead our companies and tax departments must kick-in. We must use our 'elbows and knees' to stand. To fight for what we know is right. To dig deeper. To have wisdom to discern when to fight and when to walk away.