© 2023 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Listen Closely To What She Says, Because Mom Usually Knows Best

/ Photo provided by Eileen Duggan

If you ever listened to you mother — really listened, you probably learned some very valuable lessons.

For Eileen Duggan, one of those lessons has served her well in her years as a piano teacher.

“She taught me the importance of establishing a studio policy, and treating the career as a business.” Duggan wrote, in response to questions through our Public Insight Network. Her mother, Frances Duggan, taught piano for 55 years. 

In honor of Mother’s Day this year, St. Louis Public Radio invited PIN sources to share what influence mothers had on their career choices. We were looking especially for people who followed their mom’s career paths.

Duggan, of Maplewood, wrote that her mother didn’t actively push her toward or away from any career. “But Mom was delighted when I decided, after being a secretary for several years, to go for a degree in music, with piano teaching as my specialty.”

“Growing up with a piano teacher, I saw the good, the bad and the ugly of the career, up close.

“Being in the same business as my mother was a great bonding experience," Duggan wrote. "We belonged to the same professional organizations, so we attended many events and concerts together. I felt I knew, in advance, which pitfalls to avoid, because of her guidance and experience.”

Charity Letko, of St. Louis, also followed in her mother’s professional footsteps. 

Credit /Linda Lockhart, St. Louis Public Radio
Charity Letko

“I am a registered nurse, working in OB. My mom (Amber Heuss) is currently a family nurse practitioner, but she worked for many years as an RN in labor and delivery," Letko wrote.

“My mother never pushed me to do things I didn’t want to. I initially went to college for piano performance. After a while, though, I decided I should use my time better to help others — plus practicing (the piano) six hours a day was too much for me.

“My mom, knowing I’m an artsy-fartsy type, told me to make sure nursing was what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to — having grown up watching her work so hard, to support her six children, all while doing so with grace and a smile.”  

Jared Brady credits his mother with encouraging him to always believe in himself.

“I wanted to be an explorer, astronaut, mountain climber and teacher,” wrote Brady of Grand Junction, Colo.

"I eventually attempted to be an elementary teacher, to follow in her steps." He changed direction, however, and switched his college major to journalism.

Today, Brady works as a marketing manager and countertop builder. His mother is the arts heritage coordinator for the Mesa County School District 51, in Grand Junction. 

The best lesson Brady learned from his mother: “She taught me to be respectful, and most important, to listen, and think, before I speak."

Good lessons, all.

Thanks, Moms. 

  Intern Nora Ibrahim assisted with this report. 

Inform our coverage

This report contains information gathered with the help of our Public Insight Network. To learn more about the network and how you can become a source, please click here.  

To see the complete responses on this topic from our PIN sources, please click  here.

Correction: A previous version of this report incorrectly stated the hometown of Jared Brady and where his mother works. Brady lives in Grand Junction, Colo., which is also where his mother works.

Outreach specialist Linda Lockhart has been telling stories for most of her life. A graduate of the University of Missouri's School of Journalism, she has worked at several newspapers around the Midwest, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as a reporter, copy editor, make-up editor, night city editor, wire editor, Metro Section editor and editorial writer. She served the St. Louis Beacon as analyst for the Public Insight Network, a product of Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media that helps connect journalists with news sources. She continues using the PIN to help inform the news content of St. Louis Public Radio. She is a St. Louis native and lives in Kirkwood.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.