The Legacy of Parents
When I see teachers in classrooms, visit with principals in schools, look at editors putting together a quality publication, or even when I’m selecting the right vegetables for a tasty salad, I am reminded of my parents as role models for whatever success I may have achieved.
Today, people talk about the importance of parents in preparing children for adulthood. My parents did not discuss parenting, as a skill, for that was not the language of the time but I have lived by guidelines they did not even realize they were establishing.
For example, my mother was always busy with gardening in our small front yard and with plants for our windowsills and taught me the importance of proper fertilization and constant attention to the details of watering on a daily basis. While I still love and practice gardening today, the big lesson was learning the importance of regularity and attention to detail as well as caring about the plants.
Today, parents who may be more sophisticated may not be gardeners but they, as research has shown, plant the seeds of knowledge by reading to and with their children billboard signs, labels in supermarkets and storefront signs. Today’s mothers and mine used different tools but parental guidance is what breeds success for the offspring.
My father was a stickler for getting to his place of business early to deal with problems before the customers appeared. To this day, I get into my office very early in emulation of what my father taught me. He often skipped lunch when the work piled up and I have often done the same thing. When at the end of the month he showed a profit, he would rejoice in pointing out to us that when you get your work done in time and do it well, you succeed. Another lesson learned and it proved the inspiration of a truism I often cite that all the lucky people are those who work so hard.
In all that I do I truly believe that the lessons learned at home provided the foundation upon which I have stood. I hope that I’ve imparted to my children, the caring, the wisdom, the attention to detail and the formula for success that my parents espoused.#
Dr. Charlotte Frank is Senior VP for Research at McGraw-Hill.