image of author Randy Pausch on a screen with a play button arrow in the center

The Last Lecture

by Randy Pausch

Start Free Trial

Randy Pausch's parents in The Last Lecture did not lavish him with gifts, trips, or niceties of any kind, yet he claims to have won the parents lottery. Why?

Quick answer:

When Randy Pausch claims to have won the parent lottery he simply means that he was incredibly lucky to have such great parents. His mom drove him to work hard and want more for himself, and his dad showed him the meaning of sacrifice and what it means to help others.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Randy's parents may not have showered him with expensive gifts, but they gave him plenty of love, affection, and encouragement. They instilled within him the good values that he's carried throughout the whole of his adult life. Randy's sense of wonder, for instance, comes from his childhood, when he was encouraged by his mom and dad to open the encyclopedia and the dictionary to find out more about the world. More importantly, Randy was always encouraged to open his mind.

Though Randy and his sister always felt that they were the center of the universe when growing up, they were never spoiled or indulged. Randy's mom was a strict English teacher who drummed into her son from an early age the importance of hard work and self-discipline. His father, a medic in World War II, showed by example the importance of heroism and self-sacrifice. He also taught Randy the importance of helping others, as he did himself by founding a nonprofit to teach English to the children of immigrants.

Thanks to his parents's outstanding example, Randy learned that what's most important in life isn't what you buy but what you think. His mom and dad may not have spent much money, either on themselves or their children, but they certainly thought a lot. And this, more than anything else, is why Randy feels he hit the jackpot in the parent lottery.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial