They say that Father knows best, and while that may not always be the case, more than a few fathers have definitely had the right idea. Consider the following:

  • In 1901, Albert Einstein's father, Hermann Einstein, wrote to Professor Wilhelm Ostwald at the University of Leipzig, arguing that his son would be a great asset to the University. Albert was seeking an Assistant position so that he could continue his physics studies. The professor disagreed with Hermann, so Albert eventually took a position at the Swiss Patent Office. Albert's groundbreaking paper on "General Relativity" was published in 1915.
  • A ball game in the backyard or an evening lesson may have set the groundwork for some extremely successful athletes. Champion golfer Tiger Woods first learned chipping, putting and swinging from his father, Earl. Richard Williams schooled his daughters Venus and Serena in tennis. The sisters now battle it out (sometimes against each other) for tournament titles.
  • Susan B. Anthony, a leader in the 19th century women's rights movement in the United States, was raised Quaker. Her father's belief in her intelligence and capability was instrumental in her receiving a quality education at a time when many women were discouraged from learning or asserting independence.
  • In William Shakespeare's The Tempest, Prospero, a father and Duke of Milan, schemes to build a romance between his daughter Miranda and Ferdinand. The two fall immediately in love and vow to be married.

Of course, there have been some misses:

  • When Michelangelo, the famous Renaissance painter, told his father he wanted to pursue art, his father was beside himself. He said that artists were laborers "no better than shoemakers." Michelangelo's most celebrated works include the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, his sculptures of David and the Pieta and the tomb of Pope Julius II.
  • Perhaps stemming from a childhood trauma where he was almost eaten by his father Kronos, the Greek god Zeus caused a bit of an earthly mess when he created Pandora, according the Greek mythology. Although she was beautiful and irresistible, she also exhibited an insatiable inquisitiveness. This trait compelled her to open a box, formed by the gods, that contained numerous misfortunes not previously experienced by mankind.