This morning’s Chicago Tribune has an article entitled “10 Things You Might Not Know About Debt.”

Number seven on the list is as follows: “Canadian naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton, a father figure in the development of the Boy Scouts, had a difficult relationship with his own dad. When Seton turned 21, his father handed him an itemized bill for everything spent on him up to that point, including the doctor’s fee for his birth. The total came to $537.50, and his father set the interest rate at 6 percent. Seton reportedly paid the debt.” Here’s a link to the full article: http://bit.ly/SqVveN

This story, which Seton told so many years later in his autobiography, The Trail of an Artist-Naturalist , has remained in my mind for a long time. He described his father as “one who knew the price of everything and the value of nothing. There are plenty of reasons to doubt this literal accuracy, but no doubt his strained relationship with his father was one of the contributing factors that came together to form this driven man who influenced the world in so many ways.

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