Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Every family has traditions and values.  Some are passed down deliberately – going to Granny’s house on Christmas Eve, church on Sunday and holding doors open for other people.  Other values and principles are passed along by example – picking up trash from the ground, patience and hard work. 

Today, with the world facing economic and environmental challenges, it is important for us to not only set an example, but to clearly articulate a path to success.  This is the challenge that my father, Newt Gingrich, and I took on about two years ago.  This week, we are thrilled to announce the publication of “5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours.”

We decided to write this book two years ago, when my children, Maggie and Robert (who were 5 and 7 at the time), began asking how their Grandpa became speaker of the House.  I wanted them to learn that it took years of hard work and dedication, and that success happens over time, through the application of five core principles.

Dad and I decided to write a book that would include not only our personal stories but those from contributors representing a variety of walks of life to illuminate the principles  - essentially giving our readers a playbook for success.  The framework we started with?  The Five Principles for a Successful Life: Dream Big, Work Hard, Learn Every Day, Enjoy Life and Be True to Yourself – these are the principles that Dad had been referencing for years in his speeches and in his life.

A friend of mine, Patrick Kerney (Seattle Seahawks defensive end) was the first contributor to the project.  His story underscored the importance of including a variety of perspectives, since this is a book about life, not about politics.  

Dad and I set a goal: to hand our completed book to each student who completed the pilot Learn, Earn and Achieve program conducted by the Learning Makes a Difference Foundation, Inc. The program was a joint project; an idea of Dad’s that I implemented.

Last year, as we were writing the book, I was particularly inspired when one of the young men in the mathematics program told me, “I was failing.”  His use of the past tense meant that he believed he was going to pass math!  

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.