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Top 10 list of things I learned from my dad

By: Country Meadows |

David Leader recalls life lessons from his father, former Pennsylvania Governor George M. Leader

By David Leader

David Leader

Gov. Leader’s youngest child, David Leader, president & CEO of Providence Place Retirement Communities, shared a list of 10 things he learned from his father. He read the list in 2013 at Gov. Leader’s funeral in Hershey, Pa.

1. Think outside the box—the great ideas never come from inside the club. Dad believed in challenging the status quo. He had lots of brilliant ideas.

2. If you see a problem or hear about a problem, do something RIGHT NOW. Dad’s sense of urgency was off-the-chart. He was the ultimate “ready, fire, aim” manager—we all made fun of him for it, but he got more done in a day than most of us do in a week.

3. Don’t be afraid to tackle the big problems. Dad loved problems. And he wasn’t scared off just because the problem was huge or seemed unsolvable to everyone else. He always believed that HE might be able to make a difference. He lived by the motto—If not me, then who?

4. Stay curious and read voraciously. For the past 40 years or so Dad sent articles and books to his kids on an almost weekly basis—I confess I couldn’t read them all, and I am a pretty avid reader. He was always learning.

5. Go for a walk almost every day. For many years my parents walked hand-in-hand daily. Dad was not an exerciser, but he taught me to love going for a walk. I am convinced that those walks were his time to clear his mind and enjoy quiet meditation.

6. Don’t feel constrained to a linear life— you can have multiple careers. Dad was comfortable with change—he never was afraid to try something new. He shared with us that he had learned something valuable in every job he held.

7. Always look forward, never look backward. Dad never lamented his failures or mistakes—he let the past go…and he truly never held grudges.

8. Get your hands dirty, no work is beneath you. Dad believed that no one job was more important than another. He believed that ALL work has great dignity.

9. Be skeptical of experts. Dad taught us to think for ourselves. He said, “If an expert can’t explain it so that you can understand it, then maybe he doesn’t understand it any better than you do.” He encouraged us to do our own analysis and trust our own judgment.

10. Don’t suffer in silence. Dad was pretty healthy emotionally—he knew how to ask for help.

4 thoughts on “Top 10 list of things I learned from my dad”

  1. Hope Rice says:

    David, as I read through the list of 10. It brought back great memories and lessons learned from your father. He was such a wonderful person who walked his talk and lived life to the fullest everyday. Thank you so much for sharing. He will always be in my heart and thoughts as I continue to follow his wit and wisdom.

  2. Country Meadows says:

    Hope, thank you for sharing your kind words. Governor had an admirable vision and actions and instilled the same virtues in his family who carries out that vision still to this day.

  3. Valerie Gable says:

    Thank you for these words of wisdom you have learned from your wonderful father. He was so well rounded in all aspects and it was so gracious of you to share them with us. He represented the best of a healthy mind,body and spirit. I follow a lot of them but struggle with others. We have instilled walking with our family and it is very important to clear your mind and communicate while walking without technology interrupting. I always tried to solve my patients problems right away when they informed me or direct others to handle it when needed. I was brought up to not be afraid to get my hands dirty,take pride in my work, and in healthcare it is inevitable, just part of the job. It is very important to always continue to learn new things, it keeps your mind sharp. Changing your path in life and looking ahead sometimes can be challenging.

    1. Country Meadows says:

      Ms. Gable,

      Sounds like you have a lot in common with many of our co-workers who put the needs of our residents first and take pride in making a difference. The Leader family leads by example and pitches right in. Glad to hear these guiding principles ring true with other community members. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences.

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