Readers Reflect On Dad

Last month, Work & Money asked readers to write and tell us about how their fathers helped shape the way they work today. Here are some responses:

My father's encouragement to use my own talents has led me far beyond my wildest dreams.

Growing up with my father's respect for every individual's creative potential, and the joy he expressed in making art, gave me the courage, drive, and leap of faith to start my own art gallery in 1985.

I still have the plaque my father made of a Boy Scout earnestly building a birdhouse. In big letters, the picture is titled "Do Your Best." By his example, I discovered the inherent rewards of this simple credo. Contributing what I do best creates a bridge to the world.

My father's appreciation of individual merit has buoyed me beyond the pitfalls of compromise, conformity, and shortsighted vision. Today, I feel privileged to have a successful gallery and to do what I love and do best.

My father's dedication to the creative process, his integrity, and common respect continues to inspire me. Everyone has talent! Use it, and success will follow.

- Penelope Schmidt

New York N.Y.

Regarding your article on "Fathering a Work Ethic," I think one idea has been left out of the equation: personality.

My husband has been an executive for several years, having worked up from the bottom of the ladder. He enjoys solving problems at the top and traveling for the company.

My son, however, is totally different. He has an excellent work ethic and is never out of work. But he doesn't want success as his father has it.

He doesn't want to travel one or two weeks of the month or have constant responsibility to his job 24 hours a day.

He is a quieter low-key person who wants to do a good job and then go home and relax with his music, reading, and TV. So personality enters into what a person becomes in life.

One's father can teach a good work ethic, but if one is not interested in big business "success," this cannot, or should not, be taught as the only way to be happy.

- D.R., Abington, Mass.

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