The first one is my father. In the few years I was able to be with him, he played a major role in the formation of my personality, my knowledge base, and my desire to learn.
When I was young, probably three or four years of age, he worked on televisions. These were the old televisions...the kind with tubes. He carried a case that was filled with all different kinds of tubes. And I was his tube-getter. He would take me along on these repair jobs. While he was stuck behind the broken TV, pulling out burned-out tubes, he would tell me the numbers on the tubes, and I would get the ones he needed and take them to him.
I don't know if his actual purpose was to teach me, but teach me he did. I learned how to read numbers, I learned how to memorize, I learned to be responsible, I learned how good it feels to do a job that pleases someone, and I developed an ability to fix things.
The second way he taught me was through conversation. Every Sunday we would eat dinner at my grandmother's house. Dinner would be over in 20 minutes, but the conversation would go on for one, two, or even three hours after dinner. Everything was discussed and everyone, even the kids, were part of that conversation. I learned a tremendous amount of information during those long talks every Sunday. I'm sure those were the major contributors to my views on education, politics, religion, and lots of other topics.
My father was not a teacher. He had been a city bus driver, an electrician, and maintenance worker. He grew up on a farm and only had an 8th grade education. But I learned more from him than all my certified teachers combined.
I think that parents need to remember that they are their children's first teachers. The influence of parents in those early years of child's life determines everything that child will be in the future. Too many parents leave their children to be taught by the child's friends, the television, computers, and computer games, rather than spending time with the child themselves.
I don't care how busy you are...spend quality time with your children. They really will appreciate it because you are important to them!