Children learn the drill from dentist fathers
Never accuse Dr. Robert Murray of leaning on his son to follow in his footsteps and become a dentist.”I wanted him to be a pro golfer. I wanted him to be the next Tiger Woods,” he said.In the absence of that, Murray is thrilled that his son, John, 27, went into the same profession as his dad, and better yet, joined his Glenwood Springs practice.”It’s wonderful for me. Basically I love being a dentist, and I love having him be here,” Murray said.Dr. Rob Anderson also wasn’t one to try to steer his children into his chosen field. While he hoped they might consider it, he also knew how hard dentistry school is, and the difficulties of the profession itself.So he couldn’t have been prouder when his daughter Brynne, 26, received her degree in dentistry this spring from the University of Colorado.”Dental school is no easy thing, and I was very pleased that she was able to get through that,” he said.As for Brynne, she has a whole new level of respect for her father.”I knew he worked pretty hard. I didn’t have any idea how hard he worked until recently,” she said.It must be a heartwarming Father’s Day gift, having a son or daughter respect you and your career choice enough to make the same choice – and in Murray’s case, to go to work in the same office. It must be all the more satisfying to see a son or daughter happy in that career choice.
“It’s good, it’s going well,” John Murray said. “I definitely love what I do. Most people can’t say that.”A longtime teamThere was a time back in middle school and high school, John confesses, when becoming a dentist was far from his mind. Chalk it up to typical teenaged rebelliousness.”It was just ‘I don’t want to do what my dad wants to do,'” he said.But he discovered in high school that he was good in math and science. He studied those subjects in college and decided to at least apply to dental school.”I got in, so I said, ‘Well, it seems like the right thing to do,’ and here I am seven years later.'”John finished his schooling and has practiced dentistry for two years.When he was younger, his dad would say he enjoyed his job and suggest that his son consider dentistry. But he never pressured John to go in that direction, John said.”I think that everybody thinks that he did since I ended up here. I guess I went with the flow, and it just seemed like the best place to be,” John said.
Sensing his son’s possible interest, Robert exposed him to his work while John was young. John would help him respond to 2 a.m. calls for toothaches, and his dad would involve him in decisions and explain why he was buying equipment.”He’s been a part of this for a long time,” Robert said.Robert also encouraged John to take math and science courses in college in case he decided later to give dentistry school a try.Robert is impressed by his son’s abilities.”He’s really, really good. He does my dentistry, so I have total trust, and it’s just sort of a family team thing.”John said he is glad to be able to tap his father’s 25 years of experience, but adds, “I think I have a little more energy.””Well, he only works half as hard as I do so I don’t know about the energy,” his dad jests.Humor might be one key to a father and son working together compatibly in a practice. John said they also stagger hours so they’re not always in the office at the same time.But clearly it’s the togetherness that is part of the fun for both of them. John’s mom and Robert’s wife, Barb, also works in the office, making it even more of a family affair.Robert can thank his own father, a farmer, for suggesting he go into dentistry.
“I wasn’t a very good patient so I figured if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” he said.John confirms that in at least one respect, his dad could be a better patient. It can be hard to get him to keep his mouth open, John said.An early respectBrynne Anderson has never tinkered with her dad’s teeth. But from a young age she watched him work on patients, and realized how much he was respected and appreciated for the work he did.”He always was a well-known figure in the community,” she said. “Everywhere we would go people would say ‘Hi, Doc’ and shake his hand and be happy to see him.”Brynne also was influenced by Dr. Roger Brown, a Glenwood endodontist (root canal specialist).”He was the one that got her to say ‘I can do this,’ and go that way,” Rob said.Brynne was a sophomore in college when she decided on becoming a dentist herself.”I was trying to think of something that would allow me to work when I wanted to, be my own boss,” she said.
She wanted to work in health care but wasn’t sold on medical school. She didn’t want to deal with HMOs, and wanted flexible hours that could make it easier to raise a family.She also likes the fact that dentistry has technical and artistic aspects, and that dentists can help people who are in pain or aren’t satisfied with their appearances.She said her dad has been good at sharing tricks of the trade with her that he has picked up over the years.Brynne is headed off to Chicago to do a residency for a year at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. It’s possible her career path could take her back to Glenwood, but she wouldn’t be going into a general dentistry practice with her father. He has sold that practice and is concentrating on implant work.Her father would love to see her return here, but said, “I’m not sure that’s going to happen. Yeah, anytime that your child can be around, I think that’s a good thing.”Brynne’s mother is Manette Anderson, who is a retired Glenwood Springs High School teacher. Brynne graduated from the school in 1998, and John Murray is a 1997 GSHS graduate.Rob Anderson thinks their achievements, and those of other graduates of the school, including his two other children, speak well of its academic offerings.”There’s a lot of good kids that graduate from Glenwood Springs that go out and compete and do very well,” he said.And make their fathers proud …
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