Donald Trump's professional life and family life intersect at the company that manages many of his business interests. The Trump Organization employs his three adult children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric.
"I wanted my children to do what they wanted to do whether it had anything to do with my interests or not. It would be pointless to coerce them, and I didn't," Trump says. "I'm pleased they made their choice to work with me, but I wasn't counting on it."
Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric say they've learned a lot from their father, but possibly the most important lesson is that loving their work is essential for success.
Regardless of family ties, if they were not passionate about what they were doing, "we would be weeded out very quickly," says Don Jr., 30.
There is no question that all of us share my father's passion for the business, stresses Eric, 24. Hard work and the love of real estate is simply part of the Trump genetic code.
The senior Trump continues to urge his kids to pursue their passions, and over time, their business interests may broaden, just as his have. For example, "Ivanka has her own jewelry collection and shop on Madison Avenue in addition to her work at The Trump Organization," he says. "She loves jewels, she knows a lot about them, and she's been very successful."
Don, Ivanka and Eric say they admire their father's business acumen, drive and focus. "Hard work is undoubtedly one of the primary attributes that has led to my father's astonishing success," Eric says. Don Jr. says he also looks up to his father for "his ability to see and create value where others do not, and the fact that he always speaks his mind without catering to populist sentiment."
Unlike the sons and daughters of wealthy families who take their money and privilege for granted, Trump says his children have proven themselves as enterprising employees. "They are hard workers, they do well, and the rest follows," he says. "Easy success can be hollow. That will never be the case with them."
Trump says he and his first wife, Ivana, were both strict with their three children, but not unduly so. Don Jr. and Eric say they're grateful for their upbringing.
"My parents raised us with a work ethic and an understanding of the value of a dollar by making us work for it," Don says. "Learning how hard it is to earn at a young age creates a great sense of satisfaction later in life when you are successful. That in turn creates more desire, and continued success usually follows."
Eric says his father was extremely careful, "never to hand us anything, other than our educations, on the proverbial silver platter. There is no question that these values have carried over into both our personal and professional lives."
Ivanka, 26, says her father encouraged her and her brothers to take risks, explore and to learn by doing, which helped them all gain self-confidence and independence.
Trump agrees that his children have had the advantage of great educations and travel, but says they were anything but spoiled. "They knew what the expectations were, and they've done exceedingly well. Navigating the business world and society today isn't easy. I'm very proud."
His two youngest children are a big source of pride as well. His wife Melania Trump gave birth to their son, Barron, in 2006; and he has a teenage daughter, Tiffany, from his second marriage to Marla Maples. Trump is also a grandfather to 1-year-old Kai Madison, daughter of Don Jr. and wife Vanessa. As important as work is for Don, especially at this stage of life, "I do try to be an active force in her life," he says, admitting he's still working on balance. I just sleep a lot less to come up with the time."