My mom and dad taught me well. Not intentionally, really, because in many ways they were hands off when it came to me and school work. My older brothers and I all excelled in school, so they never really felt the need to hover over our homework. I’m not sure it would have done much good anyway since both were immigrants and had limited grasp of English. Growing up in the depression and WWII Europe, my dad only finished the equivalent of 9th grade.
My mom was an avid reader and encouraged us by taking us to the library each week. By the time I was in 6th grade I was reading at college level. I read everything she had on her own bookshelves too, including authors like James Michener and Leon Uris. Given my appetite for historical fiction, it’s no wonder I became an English major and History minor in college.
My dad, meanwhile, loved to tell stories. About everything. About growing up in the Netherlands during the war, about the construction projects he led, about his early years in Canada. He was the kind of story teller who also told the sidebar stories. In some ways I am shy; I’m not the best at walking up to a person I don’t know and starting a conversation. However, I am very receptive to being approached by others and, once engaged, I launch into stories depending on the other person’s interests. And finding out their stories, of course. It’s no fair to dominate the conversation that way.
When you combine the reading/writing trait with story telling, it naturally led to journalism and public relations and, in more recent years, blogging. Thanks mom and dad. This is a lot more fun than math.