The Impact of Mothers

With Mother’s Day coming up, I’ve been thinking about the various “transformations” my mother made over the years. (See the Closing I wrote in 21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Mom, which I posted an excerpt from on my April 4 blog.) Of course, I’m the one who changed over time, far more than she did. I now realize what a tremendous impact she had on the person I am today.

When I was sixteen, my mother made me get a summer job. I just wanted to hang out with my friends for three months. But she insisted. She even cut out an ad from the paper for a summer babysitting job and handed it to me, along with the phone receiver. To my dismay, the parents hired me. And over that summer, I discovered that Christianity was more than just going to church as a family on Easter and Christmas, and going to Sunday school with my sisters to learn about Noah’s ark and Jonah’s whale. On the last day of my babysitting job that summer, I accepted Christ as my Savior.

Thanks, Mom.

When my own kids were growing up, I dreaded my empty-nest season, wondering what on earth I’d find to do with my time. But the truth is, I’m busier now than ever. In the years since my kids moved out, I’ve become a published author and a professional freelance editor. I’m the founder and director of two organizations for Christian editors. I speak at writers’ conferences across the country six to eight times a year. I’m the director of a writers’ conference and an editors’ conference. I love my life because everything I do helps people achieve the dreams and goals God has in mind for them. I get to be a part of their journey, and that makes me super happy!

I would not be where I am today without the foundation my parents gave me. I might not even be a Christian if my mom hadn’t insisted I get that summer job.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my mother for everything she’s done for me. And though they may not know it, everyone I’ve assisted in my life can be grateful to her too. Because I wouldn’t have been able to help them if not for Mom.

If you are successful in any aspect of your life, there’s probably something your mom did that laid the foundation for that success. This Mother’s Day, tell her—and show her—how much you appreciate her. And be specific about what you’re grateful for. If contact with your mom isn’t possible, do something in honor of her. Take time out of your busy schedule to look through old photo albums and recall cherished memories. Write Mom a detailed thank-you note … even if there’s no way to send it to her.

And then think about how you can “pay it forward.” When you’re with your children or grandchildren, put all of your focus on them. Don’t try to split your attention between them and all the many things on your to-do list. If your own kids aren’t around, is there someone in your life you could be a “second mom” to? If so, make a concentrated effort to invest in his or her life. While that will take time away from your business, these are the things that will have lasting, even eternal results.

Did your mother make any “transitions” when you were growing up? What are some things she did in the past that you didn’t truly appreciate until years later?