My parents raised five children without much money and under exceptionally difficult circumstances a good deal of the time. My father ended his education without graduating from high school and my mother received a high-school degree. Their married life began during the Great Depression of the 1930s and it was many years before my father got a regular job with the U.S. Postal Service. I cannot help but believe that my continuing interest in how families and children deal with their economic situations was first instigated by the financial hard times often experienced by my family. But despite the difficult era that marked the beginning of their marriage, my parents were

exceptional mentors and models for me in many important ways. They both placed a singular emphasis on hard work, meeting one’s responsibilities in life, and commitment to family and children. They also were very bright and actively involved in discussions regarding the issues of the day. They encouraged all of their children to pursue higher education and invested the limited resources they had in fostering educational pursuits. Without their early efforts on my behalf, I would not have had the opportunity to enjoy the academic career that is the focus of this chapter.