That Thing You Share In Common With One Of The Richest Women In The World

Melinda Gates, one of the richest women in the world, says she regrets giving her kids a cell phone too early.

That was a shock.

To discover, I, of all people, have something in common with one of the richest women in the world.

Not just me, though.

I’m thinking you’re also in on this one, Dear Reader.

I’m talking Melinda Gates.

Wife of Microsoft founder, Bill Gates.

A brilliant, accomplished woman in her own right.

Let’s be clear.

I’m not talking our bank accounts.

I’d recommend calling her, not me, if you’re looking for a spare buck.

This commonality is something even deeper.


That’s what Gates was talking in a recent Washington Post opinion piece.

More specifically,

Gates regrets something just about every parent wrestles with.

When does your kid get his first cell phone?

Gates shares she and her husband caved when their kids were 14.

“I think back to how I might have done things differently,” she writes. “Parents should decide for themselves what works for their family, but I probably would have waited longer before putting a computer in my children’s pockets.”

I smiled, reading that.

To think, this woman,

Who has used her riches to save the lives of millions of children around the world,

Who has every possible resource at her brilliant fingertips,

This woman thinks back and believes, “I could’ve done that better.”

I also smile recalling that long ago,

Never-ending discussion with my then 11-year-old daughter.

Or was it lobbying?


She wanted a cell phone.

She wanted it bad.

My husband and I had decided she wasn’t yet old enough.

Even though every single other kid in the school had one.

Yeah, you’ve heard the same plea?

“Well, how old were YOU when you got your first cell phone?” she pushed, believing she had lobbed a fantastic point.

“Uh, 30,” I replied, reflecting on a time and a world Daughter will never be able to ponder. “They weren’t invented before then.”

Of course, this really isn’t about cell phones.

Or parenting.

It’s about looking back.

Thinking you could’ve done that thing differently.

Done better.

Whatever it is.

I think we caved to the cell phone begging when Daughter was 12.

Was it too young?


I’ll have to think about that.

Maybe for you, it’s something else.

You find yourself doing that this week.

Kicking yourself that you could’ve done better.

Made a different choice.

In the midst of beating yourself up,

I have one request.


After all, you’re in some really fine company.

I mean, gazillionaire Melinda Gates is doing the same thing!

Just ask her.

It is possible, of course, this incredibly busy lady won’t take your call.

No worries.

Just call Daughter.

I promise her cell phone is no farther than her back pocket.

((Please catch my column each week in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Dayton Daily News and other Cox Newspapers across the country.)))

And if you enjoy this column, you might enjoy my book,

“Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog.”

final front cover



That Thing You Share In Common With One Of The Richest Women In The World

by DarynKagan time to read: 2 min
%d bloggers like this: