At AOL News, former Nixon White House speechwriter and American legend, Ben Stein, tells of the lessons he learned from his father, Herbert Stein, who was RN’s chief economic advisor.  (By the way, I once saw a photo of Ben in a Corvette, sporting a hairdo that would have guaranteed him a place in the Grateful Dead’s road crew. I don’t know if it was the one he talks about buying.)

At a Stein family reunion about 20 years ago, my father said that the only truly brilliant decision any Stein had ever made was to come to America. How right he was, and how much he emphasized that. He would tolerate almost any comment except one that criticized America or the fighting forces. That he would not abide.

My father passed on a respect for family and for love of one’s spouse and children. Nothing in his world took precedence over doing whatever he could for his children. I cannot recall his ever turning down any request from me except for when I wanted a Corvette when I was in high school. (I bought one when I was out of school, and it was great, by the way.)

My father emphasized that work, and not whining and self-pity, was the key to unlock almost any door. He also made me understand that work was not only valuable for what one accomplished and one’s pay, but also for the self-esteem it brought. This has been life saving in all of my life.

Photo and caption courtesy of Betmann/Corbis: The author’s father, Herbert Stein (pictured at left), testifies before Congress in March 1973, when he served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.