Attitude lessons learned from my Dad (Pedcast)

Last year’s holiday message about lessons learned from my Grandfather was a well received podcast.  This year’s holiday message focuses on lessons learned from Dr Smolen’s father.  Parents can have a strong, positive effect on their children’s attitudes. Listen to this podcast and learn how “Smoky Smolen” had a positive influence on his son’s attitude.




-Podcast, helping parents with information to help raise their children from preschool to grad school

-Last Thanksgiving I did an attitude pedcast about my grandfather.

-I got a tremendous response so here we go again with my now annual pedcast about teaching children positive messages about life attitudes.

-It’s my belief that everyone around you have things to teach you.  Sometimes the teaching is direct and sometimes the lessons are only available only by observation.

-In the case of my father, his attitudes were crystal clear both in his words and his actions. I am going to share those with you today.

-Today I am going to reflect some on my father’s attitude toward work and really life in general…I hope we can all learn from his life experiences.

-So kickback and enjoy hearing a little some of the wisdom that my father taught me which I hope will have relevance for you and your children.


-First a little background on my Dad.

– He was born in the 1920’s, in Atlanta Ga, the deep south.

-He was an only child in a Jewish family in the south.

-Those two facts made him different right from the get go- Jewish in the South and only child at a time when families were usually large.  I got the feeling that these facts, galvanized his personality. He learned to stand up for himself and be proud of who he was!

-It didn’t hurt that he was a good student and very athletic.

-After high school graduation, he enrolled as a freshman at UNC

but then WW2 broke out.  He dropped out of school voluntarily to join the Marines.  He was going to join the fight and make a difference.  I got the feeling that not only was he ready to fight for his country, but maybe he needed to prove something to himself and others.


-After the war, he did not return to school but rather married and settled into a sales job, selling industrial chemicals, mostly soaps.  Without a college degree there were probably not a lot of options available to him.  While his friends were becoming successful lawyers, doctors, and business owners, he was selling chemicals to one customer at a time. But it turns out that the soap sales business suited him quite well.


– After a few years in the soap business it was clear that he had a talent for selling.  He had found his career, not as a professional but as a soap salesman.

-Now here’s where the attitude lessons come in. I can vividly remember him telling me a two things over and over again as a child;


Firstly, if you are going to be a salesman or anything else for that matter, be the best salesman the world has ever seen.  A 90% effort was just not good enough, it had to be 100% or nothing.  He would often say to me, “ If you are going to be a shoe salesman or a carpenter, be the best darn shoe salesman or carpenter there is.”  That was just his attitude.


Secondly, his attitude was that nothing happened until a salesman landed the sale. He chose to see his role as absolutely essential to the overall effort of the company.  In his view, his function was more important that the CEO of the company, the accountants, the chemists and all the rest down the line.  It was the salesman that made it all happen.  He had converted (in his mind) what many could call a mundane job into the linchpin of the organization. Now that’s a good attitude!



-Was this all ego or compensation for insecurity…I don’t think so.

– He had chosen a philosophy that gave his life meaning and purpose.

That philosophy was: When you decide to do something, give it all you got. Furthermore, no matter what the activity is , treat it as important.  Respect yourself and your contribution take it seriously.  Boy did this work for him.  He became an extremely successful salesman.  He retired having earned a great income and had become a legendary salesman in the company.


-What a great message for kids;


When your child decides to do something, they should give it their best effort… and they should treat their contribution to whatever the endeavour as important! They should demand respect from others involved.


-If you can convince your children to adopt my father’s life view (give your all and your contribution is important), think how that would help with schoolwork, sports, and even friendships.


– Learning to give things your best effort can only be a positive in my mind.  It is only with this kind of effort that we can hope to overcome all the difficulties that life throws at us.


– By the same reasoning, respecting your own contribution to a group activity and demanding respect from others gives it meaning and importance. An individual who always gives their best effort and treats every task as important is the kind of person I want working with and for me! Work with a purpose is always better than just work.  It happens to be more fun too!




-I hope these insights into my father’s attitude can help you shape your child’s attitude toward life.

-Sometimes when you watch the news you think that our problems are insurmountable….think about the tremendously difficult obstacles generations past had to tackle and overcome.  Maybe if you can instill in your child, my father’s life attitudes, their challenges will be easier to tackle.

-Well, that’s it for today.

-Thanks for joining me.

-If you like what you hear, please recommend the DocSmo pod cast to your friends and relatives.  The larger my audience the more energy I can invest in my blog. “Like” DocSmo on my face book page or “follow” me on twitter.  If you like the blog, so will your friends.

-Feel free to send in a comment and start a discussion

This is Dr Paul Smolen, recording in Charlotte, NC hoping you are in the mood, to affect your child’s attitude!


Until next time!

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