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Basic Values and a Strong Work Ethic  

By Melanie Hope Greenberg

Both of my parents were brought up in the Depression and had a strong work ethic.  My mother was a bookkeeper before she married and had children and gave part of her salary to her parents. When they married my father owned a luncheonette around the corner from where we grew up in the South Bronx. He was gone by dawn to open the store and home after I'd gone to bed. My mother was a full time homemaker by the time I was born. 

Basic values and a work ethic were taught early on. My mother instilled discipline in simple ways. My two older sisters and I had chores to do and part time jobs in our late teens. I'm not sure if my mother had the chance to do the balance part of the equation properly. We were not rich but our house was alway neat and clean. I consider my mother a full time worker with three children to raise mostly alone, while my father worked a full time job at the luncheonette. Even with her full time schedule my mother would still help out at the luncheonette as a cashier to give my father a break in the middle of the day.  

For this lifetime I decided not to have children,  to give my inner child a chance to play, and to develop a full career that I enjoy.  It always amazes me to think of the inner strength parents have to raise children while having a job and going to work.  As the three daughters grew up and were on their own, my mother went back to work as a full time bookkeeper. What I carry on in my own work ethic is the understanding that discipline and basic values go far.  My career is non-stop. When I get weary and discouraged and want to quit I think about the non-complaining discipline it takes to be of selfless service to one's children and home. It humbles me. It brings me right back into my center and to what is important. 


Melanie Hope Greenberg is a self taught artist. She began her professional illustration career in 1981 designing greeting cards for UNICEF. Melanie's first picture book was published in 1989. She has since illustrated 16 children’s picture books; six of them she has written. Her illustrations are also published by the Children's Defense Fund, Southern Poverty Law Center and NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children). Melanie travels throughout the United States presenting author-illustrator workshops for elementary students, hopeful and published artists as well as children's writers, teachers, librarians, educators and booksellers. She presents at schools, libraries, conferences and museums.