Happy Mother’s Day: My Tribute & Your Challenge

60 Minutes with an Old Friend

A few months ago, I sat with an old friend at my office conference room table. There is a lot I did not know about my old friend until recently. Having worked with a wholesale fine foods company for years, he has made many friends with chefs and restaurant owners. He has access to organic, artisan ingredients. You should see his IG posts of his creations that he makes from scratch at home. The colors are gorgeous, and his organization and creativity are impeccable.

From there, our conversation moved to his loss of 40+ pounds through 4am work outs and changing his overall mindset. He talked about some of his closest friends who he is there for and who are there for him. He admitted that he was a really good friend but has been a terrible husband, twice. That brought us to his single dad status and the parenting of his curly red-haired spitfire.

My Friend’s Great Question

He asked me a great question about parenting. He asked me to tell him my core values when it came to parenting. He knows my 17-year-old boy pretty well and he asked how we helped him turn out so well. I gladly would have accepted the Quinn compliment alone. But he gave me a platform right there in my conference room to talk about my parenting style.  I didn’t know I had such strong core values.  They started flying out of my mouth one by one over the next fifteen or twenty minutes.

The rest of this post is about the values I shared with my friend. It’s also about reflecting upon your values this Mother’s Day week. It’s about challenging you to talk to your people about your values and how they are blooming (or maybe hiding) in your own life.

This Post is a Tribute to Mothers, Biological, Spiritual and Adoptive Alike.

To clarify, if you don’t have biological or adopted kids, I am sure that you are a mentor or an auntie to some chubby toddler or awkward tween that needs you. You too are a mother, and this post belongs to you.

We each have our core values and varying parenting style, whether we are mentoring biological, spiritual or adoptive kids. I suspect that much of what we bring into this role comes from our own mothers, aunties and female mentors. Much of what I am going to say comes from my mom (and dad) and the rest comes toppling out of my own life experience.

My Intention is to Help You Reflect this Mother’s Day.

Before I lay out what I shared with my friend, I will tell you in advance my intention. It is my hope that you will take the next few days leading to Mother’s Day to think about your core parenting values. Jot a few of your core values down. Let them swim in your mind. Maybe write down another one or two or revise one of your earlier thoughts. You will eventually be satisfied with what your have reduced to writing. I am confident of that.

Challenge No. 1

Once you have that part done, I challenge and encourage to reach out to one of your mother figures or mother. Share with her the parts of your parenting that you graciously account to her blood, sweat and tears. This is a gift to her in and of itself.

Challenge No. 2

Next, I challenge and encourage you to share with your biological, adoptive or spiritual kids what matters to you and ask them if they can see that in your life. This could be a bit risky on a day where you are not really hoping for any surprising feedback. Nonetheless, this conversation will bless you and help you grow (one way or another).

Here goes, soul sisters.

Value #1 – Follow Your Dreams

My mom cheered each of us as if we were the most likely person to succeed. She helped us try lots of new things and provided the best tools within her reach. She let us go as far as we desired when it came succeeding. The world does a good job of knocking you down and chipping at your self-esteem. But I’ve always had just enough faith to keep going because of my mom. Even at the rock bottom, dark night of the soul, my mom has been there to encourage me towards hope.

Part of the Follow Your Dreams value is that race, ethnicity, economics or gender is not a reality strong enough to limit our dreams. I was the first on my mom’s side to go to college. Her parents were the kid’s of first generation immigrants. I was one of the few girls in the DECA business club in high school. I made it through college and law school, often times, by counting change.  

In my own experience, I understand the hardship of being a woman and not having a lot of financial resources to work with. I also acknowledge the privileges I was afforded. But that wasn’t what my mom’s value was all about. It was about not allowing limits to define your future.

The last part of this value was that it was not just for us. My mom and dad taught us to see and treat others with the same limitless value. Of course, I didn’t grow up colorless or genderless or classless. But we were taught that dreams are limitless for ourselves and dreams are limitless for others. This value had a direct impact on how we viewed and treated others – with respect and value as a person who had limitless dreams too.

Value #2 – Help Others Right Where You Are

My family had a strong ethic to help others. Back in the day, the Sun Sentinel ran an annual article around Easter time with a list of local families you could help. Clearly, privacy laws were not intact thirty/forty years ago. My mom would pick a family from the list. She would contact them directly and ask them what they needed. We would bring gift cards (or whatever it was back then) and Easter baskets and visit the family most of that year.

It was awkward going into neighborhoods and homes we weren’t familiar with. The food looked and smelled different. The little kids pulled at and played with my hair. But my mom always had a connection with the mother or grandmother. We all, the family and us, smiled and laughed through the awkwardness.

This is just one example. My mom has mentored neighborhood kids. Hired women just out of jail. Helped women educate themselves. Poured into countless homeless men and women. She took us along with her for the ride and hoped we would do the same in our own lives.

Value #3 – Give Them Wings and Let Them Go

Part of the freedom of growing up as my mom’s kid was that she was clear that her job was to give us wings so that we could fly on our own. She poured into us deeply but not in such a way that exhibited control or dependency on either part. We knew well that we were revving up to go out into the world. That created a sense of ownership and drive to move forward even if we were a little scared. She provided a foundation of care that created confidence to take steps in our own direction.

Value #4 – Maintain your Character at any Cost

By no means did I learn this on my own, but it could not feel more personal. As I reflect on business ownership over the last 16 years. As I reflect on friendships over a lifetime. As I reflect on marriage. As I reflect, Matthew 16:26 comes to mind.

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?

In a very competitive business field, where kickbacks and shady incentives are all around me, I’ve had to lean into this verse. It’s not so much that it’s been difficult not to make such an offer in exchange for business. It’s that others ask it of me. It has been fairly easy for me to say no. However, a few years ago I lost 30% of my business because I clung to Matthew 16:26. It was a very scary day when that happened. But it has never been clearer to me that character is worth the loss when and if that happens. I hope my kids see that in my life.

Value #5 – A Spark of Hope is Enough – Just Keep it Lit

My mom says that panic, anxiety and depression were never part of my personality or who I am. It was circumstances that ushered in and cracked the joy and freedom inside of me. In the years leading up to 2016 (when I crashed), I knew that from time to time, I felt a sadness; a lack of control of tears; and an endless feeling that “everything was lost.”

When friends, family and others think of me, I hate to think that this part of my story rises above the beauty that God has made from the dark times. That’s what parenting value #5 is about.

A spark of hope is enough.

The light does become dim sometimes. There isn’t necessarily an hourglass to tell you when the sun will reach noon again. But I do know that during these times, just a spark of hope is enough. It’s the mustard seed or yeast effect. If you can place your speck of hope in the hands of the Trinity, they will keep the light lit just long enough for the sun to come out again.

In these dim times, I ask the Holy Spirit to come in to break down walls and throw the enemy in the lake of fire for a swim. I let myself feel the cheek of the Father next to mine as I allow Him to give me rest in the night. I trust that my brother and savior Jesus – who has a full understanding of who I am and streets I walk – will lead and teach me through all that I lack.

This is what it means that a spark of hope is enough. This is how I’ve learned to keep it lit. This is what I hope my kids see and turn to when the full sun is hidden from them.

Biological, Spiritual and Adoptive Mothers alike. This post is for you.

Mothers, it will have been a miracle for you to have finished this piece in one sitting. I hope you’ve read it in pieces at red lights, as you dosed off to sleep, as you’ve waited at the doc’s office with your aging parents, at lunch or on coffee break. I hope that you’ve taken just enough time to read for your own core values in parenting to spark.

I am including the challenges below again for you. What a pain to scroll up to find them!

My Intention is to Help You Reflect this Mother’s Day.

It is my hope that you will take the next few days leading to Mother’s Day to think about your core parenting values. Jot a few of your core values down. Let them swim in your mind. Maybe write down another one or two or revise one of your earlier thoughts. You will eventually be satisfied with what you have reduced to writing. I am confident of that.

Challenge No. 1

Once you have that part done, I challenge and encourage to reach out to one of your mother figures or mother. Share with her the parts of your parenting that you graciously account to her blood, sweat and tears. This is a gift to her in and of itself.

Challenge No. 2

Next, I challenge and encourage you to share with your biological, adoptive or spiritual kids what matters to you and ask them if they can see that in your life. This could be a bit risky on a day where you are not really hoping for any surprising feedback. Nonetheless, this conversation will bless you and help you grow (one way or another).

Happy Mother’s Day!

Join 367 other subscribers

You may also like

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.