“There are times when I talk to my grown kids that I sound just like my father,” my client Joe told me during one of our visits. Joe was 89 and had grown up in a close-knit family that valued honesty, persistence, and hard work. “My Dad always said, you learn more from failure than from success. I think it’s true, but a lot of people are afraid of failure, so they don’t even try. I taught my kids that people who never make a mistake are people who never try anything new.”

In his younger years, Joe had started several businesses, two of which failed, and one that was successful and eventually provided him with a comfortable living and a comfortable retirement. “There were long hours and many hardships along the way, but I never gave up. I figured sooner or later I would get it right, and I did.”

Are there values, mannerisms, or viewpoints that you acquired from your parents or other significant people that have stayed with you throughout your life? In Joe’s case, his wise father’s words influenced him to take risks and persevere through the difficulties of starting and running a business. Joe’s two sons took over when he retired, sharing his philosophy. Joe’s college-age grandkids had a different perspective.

“They think we’re old school,” Joe said. “They’re not going to go into the family business when they graduate. They say they’d rather work for a company where they get vacation time and perks without all the responsibilities that come with running your own business. That’s fine, it’s their life. But you know, I think it instills a strong work ethic and builds character. It sure did for me.”

Joe bemoaned that some values may seem old-fashioned to the younger generation, but he felt that they are the foundation for civility. “Patience, politeness, and good manners will never go out of style,” he said. “And who knows, one day my grandkids may find themselves telling their kids, ‘Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.'”

If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at 610-667-2838 or email us at CareManagement@waverlyheights.org. We’ll be happy to assist!