"You're getting your inheritance early."
Those were my father's words to me as he explained that he was taking money that he might have left me in his will and spending it on my private school tuition. My father's reasoning was that I would be able to create more wealth for his grandchildren if he invested in my education.
Thanks to his wisdom, I would go on to graduate from Williams, one of most prestigious liberal arts colleges in the nation and to obtain my MBA from Harvard.
Besides my parents' willingness to sacrifice for my education — a decision my wife and I also made with our own two daughters — there was another key facet of my upbringing that a growing body of research has demonstrated to be extremely helpful to academic achievement. I was born to married parents, and they stayed married. This has turned out to be more important to long term success than both household income and race.