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MSU alum Bill Jones advises his 3 children that ‘listening is an art’

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Bill Jones is a 55-year-old father of three children ages 25, 23 and 18 years old. He’s also been a devoted husband for over 29 years. He has a large family with four sisters and four brothers. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and has worked in the auto industry for at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) for over 21 years in a corporate setting. In addition to being a doting father, he’s a lifelong Michigander with a passion for cooking.

Rolling out caught up with Jones on this Father’s day to discuss the importance of fatherhood.

Why is it important to expose children to education and valuable skills?

Education is the glue that reinforces the emotional, social and physical development of children. It has a direct effect on their overall development and on the adult they hope to become someday. Exposing education to children is vital in maximizing their future well-being. Education will provide children the ability to compete at all levels versus the alternative.

What insightful advice would you suggest about building a network?

I always tell my kids that you don’t get through life alone, I encourage them to build networks and to understand that they should never be the smartest one in their network; this is a way you can always learn from others. Surround yourself with other high achieving individuals.

Finish the sentence: Never give up on yourself because … 

You will always gain momentum in self-worth, self-confidence and self-motivation because “everything” starts with you. Believe in yourself and don’t depend on others to believe in you. Accept who you are and thrive for success no matter what obstacles may arise.

When it comes to protecting yourself at all times, physically and mentally, what would you tell your children?

The most important value to have and understand is self-worth. Simply knowing your self-worth should drive you to subconsciously protect yourself physically and mentally. Let your children know that they play an important part in society and they need to realize their value in life and protect it.

What advice would you give on being responsible for your own dreams?

I would stress that everything you put into making your dreams come true makes it that much easier to bring that dream to reality. If you want something bad enough and strive for excellence you are showing a genuine sense of responsibility for your dream and the possibility for it to come to fruition.

Share one of your fondest memories you’ve experienced with your father, grandfather or father figure.

One of my fondest memories that always sticks out to me with my father was something he always would tell me and my siblings. To this day I always remember it, especially when people, whether at work, or my children at home, speak to me. My father made it a point to tell me that “…listening is an art”.  Back then I would always wonder why he would say this over and over again. I now understand, as I have this obvious patience with people in general when it comes to listening, regardless of how long and how much time they may take out of my day. I have learned it is more important to listen than it is to speak.