October 3, 2004

POSTSCRIPT: Irving B. Harris

F. Scott Fitzgerald got it wrong: There are second acts in American lives – and no better proof exists than the great and good life of Irving B. Harris. A shrewd businessman, Mr. Harris also was a visionary leader in the early childhood field, promoting the wisdom of helping children and at-risk families from the earliest possible moments (i.e., during pregnancy) and working across disciplines (early education, social work, public policy advocacy, politics, research, teacher training, etc.). Mr. Harris’ “second act” did not begin until his sixties; over the course of the following thirty years, he began to genuinely change the way our society views and values young children. Walking through the airport in Nashville a few years ago, I asked Mr. Harris to describe the secret of his success. He smiled widely. “Luck,” he said. “I’ve been very, very lucky.”


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