A Family Affair
Many families devote themselves to a family business. For some it is an actual business that they own. For others, it is everyone choosing the same type of work. One of the best compliments I ever received was when someone mentioned that my family business was faith and respect. Children do not always follow in their parents’ footsteps and yet, somehow, at the end of the day, when we look back, it seems that those who seem to go their own way are often following a different path into the same family business.
Marion Donovan was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana. No one really expected her to follow in her father’s footsteps as he and his brother operated an manufacturing business. The two men had invented a most successful industrial lathe used in the making of automobiles and guns. Marion received a bachelor’s degree in English, an educational choice very appropriate for women. Later she received a master’s degree in architecture from Yale University, not such a typical choice for ladies. In fact, Marion was one of only three women in her class.
Marion Donovan worked in New York City as an editor for the fashion magazines “Vogue” and “Harper’s Bazaar”. Marriage beckoned and with it a family so Marion quit work to be a full-time mother. This was a job that included some messy chores and Marion’s family leaning for inventing came out. Marion loved being a mother but disliked changing messy diapers. She took an old shower curtain and sewed it to the cloth diapers all babies wore. The first waterproof diaper cover was invented and Marion would go on to received four patents for it by 1949, patents which included using snaps instead of safety pins.
During the next forty-five years Marion Donovan received twenty patents for household-related convenience items. A facial tissue box, storage container box, closet organizer, stationery sets with both envelope and paper sheets for writing, and dental flossing items are just a few of her inventions.
Marion Donovan was not a woman to accept difficulties in life, even in the mundane things each of us need to do each day. She constantly believed in a better way to do things and sought about finding it. Her can-do spirit makes many of our lives much easier.
Having a can-do spirit is not something that takes a great deal of effort or being born with a lot of advantages. Marion O’Brien Donovan’s mother died when Marion was age seven. Her time spent with her father and his twin brother at their factory fueled her imagination and an engineering mind but it was her belief in herself that allowed her to invent and patent her ideas.
We all awake every day with the ability make something of ourselves. Make tomorrow a better day for yourself and the world by adopting a can-do spirit. Be the very best you that is possible. We‘re all waiting for your next great day!