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Vectra Bank Expert Jeff Thredgold

A Parent’s Letter to My Children in School

Written by Jeff Thredgold, President, Thredgold Economic Associates

July 19, 2011

To my children and grandchildren…

With your focus on education, I often find myself thinking about how much the world has changed since I was in your shoes. The world is now a much “smaller” place—people of all cultures can communicate and travel with ease. You face great challenges today…just as I did…just as my parents before me. These words of advice might be helpful:

  • Recognize that the only limits you face are those you set for yourself
  • Be the BEST that you can be
  • Recognize that YOU are responsible for your successes and failures
  • You must earn your way
  • Strive for excellence…not perfection
  • See the glass as half-full, rather than seeing it as half-empty
  • Focus on positives, rather than on negatives
  • Look to praise, rather than to criticize
  • Look for ways to succeed, rather than excuses to fail
  • Commit yourself to constant improvement
  • Understand how important education is to success
  • School is the key.  Technology rules. You need better skills to succeed
  • Learn what is being taught, but most importantly, learn “how” to learn
  • Develop other information sources to verify, or challenge, what you are being taught. “History” is routinely twisted or rewritten to support a particular point of view. Get other ideas
  • Treat teachers, administrators, and fellow students as you would like to be treated
  • Be the first to say “Hello”
  • Develop your mind in school, but also develop other skills and interests, including music, art, and physical fitness. This is where teamwork develops its roots
  • Be a well-rounded person
  • Resist taking “easy” classes
  • Dig into math, the sciences, and computers. These form the technical foundation for future success
  • Study language
  • Speak and write English correctly
  • Appreciate other cultures by learning another language
  • Be honest in your approach to learning
  • Resist the temptation to cheat—you only hurt yourself
  • Develop a keen interest in the outside world
  • Pay attention to the “news.” The “real” world can be very different from the student world you live in today
  • Avoid the temptations of alcohol, smoking, drugs, gangs, and irresponsible personal behavior
  • Understand the steps you take today have lifelong implications
  • Choose your friends wisely
  • Do what you can to make a teacher’s job easier, not harder. Teaching is one of the most important, most difficult, and most underpaid professions in the world
  • Participate—but don’t be a pain!
  • Be a friend to all. Extend a hand of friendship to all other students, regardless of race, creed, or color
  • Make a special effort to be a friend to those less fortunate than you
  • As you mature and face new challenges, don’t hesitate to discuss with me what is on your mind. You might learn from the mistakes of others
  • Recognize how LUCKY you are to live and be educated in this great country. People from around the world are dying every day trying to get INTO this country…not out
  • Don’t forget to have fun!!
  • School can be a great time in your life
  • Experience it
  • Live it
  • Enjoy it

Many of these suggestions will be useful throughout your life—learn them well. I wish you the greatest success in your efforts and hope you find school both rewarding and enjoyable.


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