Perspective: Families Shape Leaders

Sep 10, 2020

There’s a guy who publicly calls people names, like “Stupid Joe,” or “Nasty Nancy,” or “Pocahontas Elizabeth.” If you or I talk to a friend and say unkind things about someone who rubs us the wrong way, that signals a need to figure out what’s behind those feelings. But I’m talking about a guy who goes public with name calling and appears to relish it.

It’s like little Kenny, a kid in my grade school who would hurl hateful slurs on the school playground at classmates he didn’t like - jocks, or geeks, or even a shy stutterer. At first I was angry with him, but later felt sorry for this bully whose only fun seemed to come from trying to embarrass and demean others. I wondered about his home life and whether his parents encouraged this kind of behavior.

Recently, Donald Trump’s early home life has been described in painful detail by his niece, Mary, a clinical psychologist and daughter of Fred Trump, Jr., Donald’s older brother. In her book, Mary L. Trumpˡ chronicles how her grandfather, Fred Trump, Sr. continually used people around him for his own benefit. S he concluded that he was a high-functioning sociopath. Young Donald learned from his father to show no signs of sadness, weakness, or kindness like his older brother, Fred Jr., who was severely criticized for looking weak. Mary’s father later died from alcoholism.

I submit that a family whose values are based on honesty, kindness, and compassion can gift society with trustworthy and healthy leaders.

I’m Connie Seraphine, and that is my Perspective.

ˡ Mary L. Trump, Too Much is Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man (Simon & Schuster, 2020)