Tim Coker brought the Millsap’s Chamber Singers to my church last Sunday. He has directed the Millsap’s Choral Program for quite some time, and it is a real treat to hear them perform. Tim and his wife, Cheryl, are a state treasure. I can’t imagine how many young lives they have shaped in a positive way. Some have become singers, some have become columnists and some are now doctors. Many of his students have become citizens who have given back much to the places they live.
I had not seen Tim and Cheryl in a few years, and I was excited to hear their newest version of the Millsap’s Chamber Singers. I didn’t realize that it would be an emotional experience for me, but it was. I started thinking about how much music had become a part of my life and how much happiness it had given me over the years. I will be the first to admit that no one will mistake me for a prodigy in the music world. But then again, by definition most people aren’t.
However, Tim gave me the tools to make music a part of my life. He taught me to read music, to interpret music, to understand music and to sing music. Since my time with Tim in high school, I have played in bands, sung with the Tupelo Symphony Chorus, spent 20 years in the church choir, and most importantly, played guitar and sung to my children almost every night. I don’t think it would have happened without Tim.
The Cokers directed the music program at my church in the 70s, and Tim was the director of music at Tupelo High School as well. I was in the youth choir at the church, probably as much to see my friends as anything and I was not particularly motivated.
One day he came to our house and explained to my parents that he needed more men in the THS Chorus. He would appreciate it if my parents would sign me up. I didn’t have any friends in the chorus and didn’t want to be part of it. But somehow I got signed up along with a few of my friends from church. Tim was tough and he expected a lot from me. I wasn’t there to be coddled or to feel good. I was there to learn about music. And that is what I did.
I wouldn’t trade those hours in the chorus room for anything now, and I wouldn’t trade my time with Tim. He changed my life in a very positive way. And as I look back on how much music has meant to me since I left high school in 1976, I realize how much he has meant to me since then as well.
Not about having fun
You must be wondering by now how I am going to tie this in to investing.
So many investors I see want to have fun. They want to buy stock in Disney because they are taking the kids to Disney World or they want to buy stock in John Deere because they have a John Deere tractor. There isn’t anything wrong with that, just as there is nothing wrong with singing to the radio in the car without taking singing lessons first.But you can’t expect to be good at it unless you work at it. Hard work will pay off in any endeavor.
Investing is about serious issues. It’s about college education, it’s about a safety net if you lose your job, it’s about retiring without having to change the way you live. If you want to look back on your life and realize how much you have enjoyed sending your children to the college of their choice,buying the cabin in the woods, taking the vacation to Europe or enjoying your retirement years, then you have to put in the work now.
You need to find the Tim Coker in yourself or find someone who is willing to treat your investment education as seriously as he teaches music.
Then one day you will look back and realize just how much your investments have meant to your life and it will be an emotional and a satisfying experience.
Scott Reed, CIMA, AIFA, is CEO of Hardy Reed Capital Advisors in Tupelo.