I have a son called Jackson, and Jackson is an entrepreneur.
– A letter from a father to his son.
Jack came up with his first business idea when he was about 4 years old. We have a massive macadamia nut tree in the back yard. He knew macadamia nuts were expensive but what he didn’t know is that they are so damn expensive because they are so damn hard to get out of the shell.
But that didn’t stop him – so one day he collected about 60 or so nuts. He put 5 nuts each into a small paper bag and wrote $2.00 on each bag. He then put the paper bags into his little red wagon and took off by himself going door to door selling his nuts to the neighbours. He came back in about 20 minutes with $24.00 and no nuts.
One business idea led to another. His big break came when he was about 14 years old – selling waterproof iPhone covers. He shipped in hundreds of these covers for about $5.00 each and sold them on eBay for $30.00.
He water tested each one and he was making thousands!
I would come home and there would be a new PlayStation 4 on the table, an Apple computer or there would be a couple of technicians putting up a plasma TV on his bedroom wall.
His big thing though is making his own rockets. He researches and builds his own jet propulsion systems and makes rocket fuel from fermented potatoes.
One of the ingredients he needs for rocket smoke is potassium nitrate. He managed to find some online one time and shouted out from his laboratory one night, “Dad, we need to go meet this guy!”
Being the supportive parent that I am, I’m like, “OK.”
So I find myself standing in a Burger King carpark in the middle of the night handing over some cash to a stranger in exchange for a plastic bag full of a white powdery substance.
The things you do for your kids.
I find myself standing in a Burger King car-park in the middle of the night handing over some cash to a stranger in exchange for a plastic bag full of a white powdery substance.
Apart from being a great entrepreneur, Jack has an amazing generous and loving nature. He was happy to be the only 16 year old at a 4 year old‘s birthday party after he was invited by a boy next door. He is the type of person who would line up at 7:00am to get the toilet paper, only to give it to someone more needy once he walked out. He does anything you ask and is happy to do it. He is one of a kind.
On August 11 2016 I was coming back from a business trip in Coffs Harbour. I phoned Jack at about 4:50pm. He was in his laboratory and we had the usual conversation about dinner:
“What do you want for dinner Jack?”
“I don’t know, what about you?”
“You want take away?”
“Sure, if you do?”
“OK. What do you want?”
“Don’t mind. You?”
40 minutes later I received another phone call. Not so good this time. Jack was in hospital and in bad shape. Although I didn’t know it, I instinctively knew. I calmly asked, “Suicide?”
The officer said yes. And a few days later Jack passed away.
It was short and sharp and sudden and totally unexpected.
I calmly asked, “Suicide?”
How has this affected me? Time helps. And I know you have to make every moment count. I get up early. I do something straight away. I embrace the day as you never know what tomorrow will bring. I find I complain less and do more. As that is what Jack wants.
It’s hard, but you need to keep living.
Jacks business name is “Vaknisa.” If you google this the only thing that pops up is Jacks name (spelt in German as this is Jack’s preference) and a link to his video play lists (or at least it used to).
The first one on the list is a science video about electricity entitled: “It’s not the volts that kill you, it’s the amps.”
I would like to think there is something profound in this statement. That the message is you can go out and do thousands of amazing and adventurous things and most of the time they won’t hurt you. But one thing just might. But you don’t know what that one thing is – so just live. Take the risk. The only things in life we regret are the risks we didn’t take. There is nothing to be afraid of.
Some people say I don’t know how you cope or how you keep going. And I say: It’s the love that keeps you going. It’s the love that keeps you connected. Grief is knowing that person is still around you, but you can’t see them or hear them or touch them. That is the love that keeps you and them alive. And Jack is alive. He may not physically be with us but to me, he is more alive than he has ever been. He lives in everything that I see, touch, and feel.
And that is why I will never say I had a son called Jackson. I will always say I have a son called Jackson.
Happy 21st Jacky. Love you xx
If you or a loved one is experiencing feelings of depression, suicide or need someone to talk to, you are not alone. Contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.