Chinese Wall in an Irish American Household

During my childhood our entire family sat down to dinner 6 nights a week. We would all talk about our day. My father was an Episcopal Minister with a large parish. He always carried a large counseling load. During our dinners he would discuss various situations that had arisen over the course of his day. His discussions were always generic with no names mentioned. The result was that all four of his children were exposed to the problems of the world without having any idea as to the identities of the players.

When my two sons were growing up we continued the family tradition. Once they started playing high school sports the nightly dinners were later and shorter but we managed to sit together several nights a week. As part of my community service, I have served as the Chairman of our towns Juvenile Court. Over the past 20 years I have seen a wide variety of situations where kids under the age of 18 have strayed. Meetings were usually Tuesday nights and lasted sometimes until after midnight. Most often the next evenings dinner would include a passionate plea from me to avoid the type situations that I had sat in judgement on the previous night. On occasion, if I were truly appalled by a case, I would wake the boys up when I got home and lecture them about a case. During the entire 20 years I have never shared the names of the juveniles involved.

This Thanksgiving we continued our tradition. One son is a Tech analyst who owns half of an analyst firm called Redmonk. The other son is a PM with a large NY Hedge fund. As we talked about our various businesses I was struck with a substantial number of gaps in the flow of the conversation. Both repeatedly said that they could not discuss a multitude of situations due to confidentiality concerns. When asked what new ETF products I was looking at, I had to give them the same reply.

Interesting how life repeats itself-play it any which way-backwards or forward. Lesson well taught Dad.

PS At my younger sons 10th HS reunion last weekend several former classmates approached my son. They all asked him to send me regards and to thank me for having taken the time to blast them i

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3 Responses to “Chinese Wall in an Irish American Household”


  1. 1 mrs sog November 29, 2006 at 5:13 pm

    I’ve lost count of the number of times someone has walked up to me out of the blue in the supermarket to thank my husband for straightening out a son or daughter, and I’ve been clueless – however, I can certainly vouch for Steve’s ability to keep confidences, even from me, a dedicated and skillful prier.


  1. 1 tecosystems » Blog Archive » links for 2006-11-30 Trackback on November 30, 2006 at 5:31 am
  2. 2 O’Grady’s Everywhere: SOG (Sr) Joins the Blogging World at tecosystems Trackback on December 8, 2006 at 10:49 pm

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