What role has your Mom played in your life?
What a hard question to answer. Moms change everything. What your Mom does or doesn’t do impacts almost everything in your life. This is why Prosperity Candle invests in women, because we know that when a mother’s life is secure – socially and economically – she will be better able to provide for her family, send her kids to school, and get her children medical attention. When this happens, an entire community is uplifted.
I’m in Haiti now where we continuously hear that employing women is the smart thing to do. Development workers, faith-based groups, and business leaders all agree on this as people tell us “women ALWAYS work harder than the men.” They tell us women are focused, efficient, and pay attention to details.
No surprise, right?
My own Mom is amazing. She has comforted me and held me close when fearful or sad, but also pushed me in some of the toughest ways a Mom can. She has achieved a fine balance of being soft and supportive when she should be and tough and motivating when I need her to be. Some of the things she has said and done have changed my life forever.
I was a pretty easy kid, following the rules, cleaning up after myself, etc, but I was not as easy as a teenager. I wanted desperately to be a typical 80s girl with big permed hair, fashionable clothes from the mall, and all the right tapes in my collection (Debbie Gibson & Whitney Houston). My Mom is very down to earth and values handmade, artistic products and funky clothing much more than trendy expensive clothes from the mall. She has long, straight natural hair and was not excited about her daughter perming her own long straight hair. She withstood the many pleas to be driven to mall and given more money for clothes. I eventually got over it and now value her thriftiness and funky sense of style and self-expression. I’m thankful that she didn’t allow me to completely conform to the teenage craziness around me.
Most importantly, perhaps, my Mom pushed me to explore the world and get out of my comfort zone. When an opportunity to study in China as a high school student popped up, I dismissed the idea, thinking “Your junior year is supposed to be the best. Why would I miss it?” My Mom encouraged me to think more broadly about life and after receiving a full scholarship, I agreed to go to China, despite my fears of the unknown. She sat with my while I anxiously cried before leaving and said, “You’ll take it one day at a time and it will be fine. This trip will change your life.”
She couldn’t have been more right. Everything changed when I went to China. I became more confident, more aware of the world, and more determined to understand other cultures and learn new languages. I wouldn’t have helped found Prosperity Candle without her encouraging me to go to China because I never would have cared so deeply about other parts of the world. My Mom helped me learn to view the entire world as an extended family.
So as Mother’s Day approaches on May 13th, I am reflecting on all that she has done for me. I’m incredibly lucky to have a Mom who is so principled, loving and committed to my happiness and success. She taught me to be confident, ambitious, and never accept that I am of less value than a man. She has created incredible opportunity for me and I’m delighted to now pass that opportunity forward to Moms around the world.
What’s YOUR Mother’s Day story?
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In the spirit of Women’s History Month, our thoughts are drawn to the many women who contribute to society in a myriad of ways while expecting nothing in return. They are hidden from view. Yet these women are transforming communities and making a positive difference in the world. They are unsung heroines.
March is about celebrating women… something we’re pretty excited about. There is so much to appreciate, so many barriers yet to topple, and so many amazing women to recognize for their accomplishments.
Ah, Valentine’s Day. Every year we look forward to it, but here’s the thing. Ever since Eve Ensler started One Billion Rising as part of her V-Day movement to end violence against women and girls, we’ve felt conflicted about this holiday.