Ann Borders: “People, Knowledge, Stuff”

Ann Borders, the oldest daughter of six children, was undoubtedly smart growing up. She was a leading member in the biology club and read the encyclopedia multiple times, just for the fun of it. Borders was always focused on education and still is to this day.

Throughout her high school years, Borders was driven to have a job in the medical field. She absolutely loved the idea of biology and having her own job that was not dependent on anyone else. Her focus and love for education granted her admission to the University of Michigan– she was on her way to become a doctor. Later on she decided to go to Wayne State University to get a degree in nursing.

Up to this point in Borders’ life she did not have a desire to be a mother, but the day she saw her husband her thoughts changed. Within ten months of meeting him they were married and were on their way to family life. After the birth of her first two children Borders expected to go back to her career, but as time passed she quickly became a mother of six kids.

It was clear to Borders that she wanted her children to grow up with good values and schooling. She sent the majority of her kids to private schools, not because of a lack of rigorous academics, but because the private schools ensured the teaching of good values. Along with sending her children to private school she home-schooled her three youngest kids. “I will fight for your right to homeschool your children,” said Borders, “it was really important. They became very good students because of that year and it was fun. I really enjoyed being a homeschool teacher.”


Looking back on her life, Borders realizes how important her children and her children’s children are to her. Borders says, “If I had done what I wanted to do I probably would be a very frustrated nurse and burnt out, which wouldn’t be that much different than all the other ones in this world. But I’ve got six really great kids, I think. They’re really cool, I’m not done with it yet, and I’ve got nine grandchildren, I have a dynasty going, you see that? I was just one stupid lady trying to have a career.” Even though, Borders was focused at a young age on her education and her career, she acknowledges what a blessing it was for her to become a mother.

When Borders was asked to give one piece of advice to any person of any age she says,  “I’ve come up with a clue that says ‘people, knowledge, stuff’.” This quote sums up Borders’ view on priorities. The least important thing is ‘stuff’ as in materials. It has importance in life, but should never be the most important thing. ‘Knowledge’ is the second most important concept. You must have knowledge to be able to set up for success. However, knowledge does not compare to people. ‘People’ are the most important piece of life. Nothing should be prioritized over another human being.