What mother does not want their children to be successful? No doubt that Mom would lay down her life for her children and, in addition, would also want to protect them from all harm. I am certain that my mother wished she could take every pain and ache from me, from physical pain to emotional pain. It must hurt, as a mother, to see your son or daughter go through pain. When I encountered pain I could see the anguish in my mother’s eyes and then the sorrow. Sometimes that anguish would be panicked if and when I got physically hurt as that was my mother’s first reaction. I remember when I was very young and having my arm broken severely. When my friends mother brought me home, my mother said a few swear words, which was her way of showing panic. Because I saw that panic I wanted to calm her down. There I was with a severely broken left arm.
“I’ll be okay, Mom. I’ll go to my room,” I stated.
Mom called Dad, who seemed to get home in no time at all, and they took me to the doctor’s office. The doctor saw the severity of my arm and directed them to take me to the hospital. If I remember correctly I even stayed a day in the hospital as that is how severe the broken arm was. But my memory of the moment is more about seeing my mother’s anguish in my being harmed.
I speak of a mother’s anguish of witnessing or knowing their sons or daughters will get hurt and having to face heartbreak, but Mom knew it would happen so that leadership coach in her believed it was wise for her to teach me the lessons from each one so I would be better prepared to survive, but also better prepared to avoid them if possible. In addition, she knew hardship, pain and sorrow each had lessons that would further shape who I would become. She saw this as an opportunity to think of it as how she would present me to the world and how the world would perceive who I was. She wanted me to be a leader and she believed it was also important for a leader to help others and be an example and utilize the lessons learned from hardships and pain to help others through them.
Mom always seemed proud of me and I certainly hope I gave her many moments of that pride. I did okay in Jr. High School, won some awards and started my first two years of High School with solid grades. I seemed to have a knack for math as I enjoyed math and excelled at it. It was around my sophomore year and into my junior year that I started working. My parents did not require me to get a job, but it seemed like the right thing to do. I was good in restaurants and the spending money was nice to have. It seemed about this time, with work, friends, a girlfriend, and school that my grades dipped from what they used to be. Mom was concerned. She knew that I had intelligence and wanted me to have success. She expressed her concern.
“Marcos, your grades have dropped and you are hardly at home anymore. Are you sure that you are not making yourself too busy?” she asked.
“No, Mom, it is just the subjects are a little more difficult. Plus, I am not sure I have the right teacher anyway,” I replied. The answer I gave was my own way of rationalizing, as I seemed to enjoy the busyness of my life and would not know which item I would sacrifice if I had to.
“Marcos, we do not require you to work. If you want to concentrate on school we will support you,” she said.
“I know that, Mom. But I like working. I think it adds value to what I am learning as well.”
“Okay, but I am concerned, because you were doing so well and that can take you far,” she explained.
“I’ll be okay, Mom, I know what I am doing,” I answered. Certainly as a teenager I believe we all know what we are doing.
Mom knew better. She saw a dangerous trend and wanted to, and tried, to correct it. She made many more attempts and even had my father speak to me about the subject. I was stubborn and hard headed. I did not recognize the repercussions. It is hard to look that far ahead as a teenager, but Mom always did.
As the next few years went by, and as I made other choices that would have repercussions, Mom at least wanted me to learn valuable lessons that she believed at some point would bring me through any consequence. No matter if I was going to be a Rocket Scientist or a Restaurant Cook, Mom wanted me prepared to succeed, be the best at what I chose, and have lessons to teach others. That is the true mentorship of a leader. Mom knew that we were at a point where she could not change my direction, so she made me better prepared for the direction I was headed. What a wise woman. I can still remember our conversation and her words, and like Mom, she repeated them many more times throughout my life.
“Marcos, your choices will bring happiness and sadness in your life. Enjoy the good times and treasure them. Keep your head up and have faith in the Lord during the hard times and ask the Lord, “What is it that I am to learn from this”, and then listen. Most of all, never give up. Remember that life is lived in the valleys and you need to attack life to make it through. But those few times that you reach the mountain tops remember, to enjoy the view. It is the view from the mountain tops that will keep you fighting forward in the valley for that next moment on the mountain. Because you have been to the mountain top and you remember the view, you will fight to get back there again.” She hugged me, and left my room.
Excerpt From: Leadership Lessons From Mom
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