Dear Next Generation

Dear Next Generation

Dear Parents,

I wrote this for the Epoch Times which features letters from their readers to the Next Generation. There may be some tips you can use on your parenting journey,

Dear Next Generation, 1/24/21


Listen more than you speak. Pick your mentors carefully. Learn from those who know more than you do. Read widely and never stop learning while you are still breathing.

Early in my career as a high school and middle school history teacher, I experienced a modicum of success and quickly thought too much of myself. It went to my head. I didn’t realize that I was still so ignorant of the art of teaching. Then in 1969, I moved my family to Naples, Florida and met my lifelong mentor, friend, and confidant, Mary Ann Cunningham.

It was the early 70s. Mary was assigned to a 4th and 5th-grade team teaching experiment at Avalon Elementary School in Naples, Florida; I was the other teacher. We taught more than 70 students in a very large room. I soon learned that Mary was the master teacher and I knew little about my craft.


Every parent dreams of having Mary as a teacher for their child. She made success unavoidable for her students. She was always the teacher that most parents requested. Mix patience, kindness, honesty, creativity, perseverance, genuine affection for her students, and wrap it around knowledge and professionalism and you have a superior teacher and mentor. She is at 80 plus years a voracious reader who records the titles of every book she reads and why she likes it.

Mentors are those people who are respected and looked up to and always admit they don’t know it all and never will but keep on learning. In the teaching profession, it’s called staff development. It’s true in every profession from the trades to the medical profession and every line of work in between.

Too many young people associate and look up to the wrong person or group. That is a recipe for disaster. Remove yourself from anyone, any group, or any situation that approves of drugs, breaking the law, or violating your family values.

Recognize a mentor as someone who genuinely wants to help and guide you without asking anything in return. Someone who possesses the qualities of Mary Ann Cunningham.



Dr. Casale is a state and national award-winning educator, the author of three parenting books and numerous essays. In 1974 he was selected as the Florida Teacher of the Year, the first male teacher to receive this recognition. While serving as principal of Purchase School in Harrison, New York in 1988, his school was selected by the United States Department of Education as a National School of Excellence. He has two children and four grandchildren.[email protected]/Dr. Casale is available as a speaker