I have a sharp memory of one Shabbat morning when I was walking to synagogue with my father. I was about 12 years old—I think, maybe a bit older—and we were discussing my career aspirations. I told my father that I wanted to be able to spend quality time with the patients I worked with, and therefore he suggested that being a doctor may NOT be the best choice for me since in his later years in his private practice insurance companies (aka those darn HMOs) were forcing doctors to see patients for only short periods of time and thus coaxing the medical field to become more and more robotic in nature.
That was the first time I realized that I could follow in my father’s footsteps in my career without having HIS career. That I could treat my nutrition patients just as he dealt with his allergy patients: with genuine care and concern, really listening to and addressing their individual needs. And I can do the same with the parents and children in the classroom in which I am working.
No matter what field it is—a person can bring the spirit of their role models into their current roles.
I used to think I needed to have an M.D. to be like my dad, but more and more I am realizing that it is the way I treat the people I am serving that is the LEGACY of my father.