Three Lessons from my Dad

There are few people as lucky as I in the parent lottery – and one of my goals as an educator is to teach the lessons I learned in my home. With that in mind, here are three lessons I learned from my dad.

  1. Let your curiosity guide you. If Dad said “I wonder” to himself, it was surely next followed with a trip to the bookstore, to Car City Records, to a concert. His library today holds thousands of books and almost as many CDs in as many genres as you can count. His curiosity about the world has guided him to many fascinating places.
  2. Do right. I don’t know any people more quietly committed to high ethical standards. Right and wrong, as defined through personal experience, should define every choice. Whether it’s standing up in a boardroom or switching sides to defend a bullied kid in elementary school – don’t hesitate to do the right thing, even it is the hard thing.
  3. It’s not too late. My dad, a passionate musician and music fan, played trumpet through college (in a band conducted by then-grad-student Erich Kunzel) and in the early years of his career in a community band. When life got too busy, he put aside his horn for a quarter-century. But when time became available, he picked his trumpet back up, and then joined a fine community choir. This weekend, he’s singing a concert featuring three Glorias: by Poulenc, Hovhaness, and Argento. He’s been practicing nearly every day with part recordings and headphones since he got the music in September.

Let your curiosity guide you.
Do right.
It’s not too late.

I’m incredibly fortunate to have two amazing, giving parents who have shared countless lessons with me. Not all of our students are so lucky – and it’s our responsibility to share, in clear terms, the kind of lessons they may not be hearing at home.

Live the choices you want to see your children and students make; let them see you make them.