The Power of Parents


This is the 31st in a collection of newspaper ads written by Harry Gray, then CEO of United Technologies, that appeared in the Wall Street Journal from the late 1970s through the early 1980s. Here is the text from that ad.

Last month we ran a pledge for students to sign and said it would be a great day for America if every one of our students signed it. It would be an even better day if every parent signed this one.


  1. I want my child to have the best possible education and I realize that strong school systems are essential.
  2. I will provide a home environment that will encourage my child to learn.
  3. I will help my child build a small but meaningful home library.
  4. I will insist that all homework assignments are done each night.
  5. I will discuss at dinnertime what my child has learned at school each day.
  6. I will include stimulating books among the presents I give my child.
  7. I will review newspaper stories and TV newscasts with my child and discuss how the news may affect our lives.
  8. I will meet regularly with my child’s teachers.
  9. I will remind my child of the necessity of discipline in the classroom – especially self-discipline.
  10. I will help my child appreciate and enjoy the excitement and the thrill of an inquiring mind.

Parent (signed with love and responsibility) __________________________________

Child (signed with love and appreciation) _____________________________________

Teacher (signed with great expectations) ______________________________________

First, here is the link to the student pledge that is referred to at the beginning of the ad, which I wrote about last week.

I had noted at the time that I thought the student pledge could be applied to anybody, since it was essentially a guide to how to live a good life.

The pledge above is more specific, focusing on the critical role that parents play in their child’s education.

But what about once all of your children are finished with school? Can you rip up the pledge at that point?

I don’t think you’re off the hook that easily; I’m a big believer in the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child.”

Even if your own kids are out of school, there’s a good chance that you have nieces, nephews, grandchildren, or kids in your neighborhood who would benefit from the surprise gift of a book, asking their opinion about the upcoming presidential election, a random question about multiplication (my favorite!), or a simple word of encouragement.

And if none of those ideas appeal to you, there’s always my favorite charity,

I’ve written about before – actually twice, but in case you are not familiar with it, here is a brief blurb from its web site: is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on our site, and you can give any amount to the project that most inspires you.

When a project reaches its funding goal, we ship the materials to the school. You’ll get photos of the project taking place, a letter from the teacher, and insight into how every dollar was spent. Give over $50 and you’ll also receive hand-written thank-yous from the students.

My favorite part about the whole process is the hand-written thank-you notes from the students; reading them makes you feel like you are making a difference in the lives of those children. So I encourage you to check it out; there is likely a school near you that could use your donation, and you never know what the lasting impact of such a gift might be.



2 thoughts on “The Power of Parents

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