These Two Traits Are Enough

There’s all these things we want to make sure our kids learn. We agonize over which school to put them in, what their grades are. We try to interest them in the right career, try to fire up their ambition. You push them to play sports, you teach them an instrument, you send them to summer camps. You read a thousand parenting books, you try all the latest strategies.

Why? To set them up for life, you say. To make them successful, to help them reach their potential.

But maybe the keys to success and life are a little simpler. President John Adams raised a brilliant son who followed in his father’s footsteps, first serving as a diplomat and then as president. What was the secret? “A taste for literature and a turn for business,” he wrote, “united in the same person, never fails to make a great man.”

As we say in The Daily Dad, you must raise a reader. Give them projects. Teach them about how the world works (lemonade stands, etc), and you’ve set them up for success. A love of reading gives them the tools to learn anything they need to learn. A turn for business allows them to support themselves–to monetize their skills, monetize their knowledge, whatever that happen to be. The rest? The rest is details.

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