I was raised in semi-rural North Carolina by two parents who both have post graduate education. My father was a minister with the typical Master's degree and my mother a public school teacher.
They both raised me to find any answer I needed to any question. That has served me well in the decades since going out on my own. It has given me both a passion for and skills in research. I have gotten used to finding out whatever I want to know. I have invested heavily in the tools to do so.
One of my main influences is my Christian faith. I was raised to believe strongly enough to be able to question. That has yielded great benefit. I was raised to believe that God is not threatened by my questions.
Growing up we always had an updated copy of Encyclopeia Brittanica in our house along with other reference books. My brothers and i were always encouraged to use them, and taught to do so.
In my major work (to date) Colony of Courage my Human characters triumph over crushing adversity because it is the nature of Humans to be strong and creative. We don't just lie down and die as a species. That comes from thousands of pages of reading stories from history of people who should have failed, or even died, but simply would not.
The subtitle of Colony of Courage is "Science Fiction to make you proud to be Human."