The most persuasive communicators early in our lives are often our mothers. In honor of Mother’s Day, I compiled some words of wisdom from a collection of my favorite fictional and real life mothers—who have always made me smile and clearly know how to communicate well…
1. Jackie Onassis
“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”
There’s so much I’ve learned from this remarkable woman and her amazing life that it’s hard to even know where to begin. A love of reading led her to become an editor, and start an encore career later in life. She taught me it is never to late to reinvent yourself.
2. Peg Bundy, Married with Children
“I have eggs and some M&Ms, I can make an omelette.”
I was part of the generation that learned about comedy from Peg Bundy. She reminds me to stop taking myself so seriously (as in healthy avocado and kale snacks). Remember to relax with your children (and in life) or you will miss out on many special moments.
3. Christina Applegate
“Sometimes I stand there going, I’m not doing any of this right! And then I get this big-man belch out of her, and I go, ah we accomplished this together.”
I have always felt a connection to Christina Applegate, and it was no surprise that I found her take on mothering spot on. We are on the journey of parenting together—my children have taught me just as much as I’ve taught them.
4. Jodie Foster
“Love and respect are the most important aspects of parenting and all relationships.”
“Silence of the Lambs” is still one of my favorite movies and Clarice Starling, the young FBI agent, is a young woman of action and strength and a great role model. Today, I admire Jodie Foster to be true to the character she portrayed—private, smart and strong.
5. Erykah Badu
“My medicine is beloved, I’m in love, and when I’m in love I glow, and my face is happy, and my heart is light and happy. And my children are happy.”
Singer Erykah Badu has always danced to the beat of her own drum. A single mother and a true believer of being one with Mother Nature. A connection with nature helps all of us to be better people, parents and professionals.
6. Sheryl Sandberg
“Being a mother is the most important—and most humbling—job I’ve ever had. As we rightly celebrate motherhood, we should give special thanks to the women who are raising children on their own. And let’s vow to do more to support them, every day.”
Sandberg’s book “Lean In” analyzes “the myth of doing it all.” This exploration made me understand not how to do it all, but how to stop trying to be perfect. She says women have to stop being “maternal gatekeepers” and to insist their partners do more parenting and housework, and then, stop trying to control the way their partners do those jobs. She acknowledges that this is difficult, but she makes a convincing case about how necessary it is if women are going to pursue demanding careers. She empowered me stop feeling guilty for working.
7. Ann Riley Finck
“Don’t always think you are being tested. Be the one who is testing too.”
My mother. The woman who has had more of an impact on my life than any other person. A single mother, volunteer in Jamaica and a loyal nurse to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital for over 40 years, she taught me to be not be consumed by (or afraid) of what others think, when to and when not to offer your opinion to others, and how to adopt a soft manner when making subtle “suggestions.” She was recently recognized by Boston College with an honorary degree as a Doctor of Nursing Science. Watching her accept that Degree was one of the proudest moments of my life, and can only hope my children will one day feel the same way about me.
Communicators of any discipline can take a few valuable lessons away from these women: all of whom had the courage of their convictions, tapped into an inner strength to get the job done and employed the “gentle art of persuasion” by word and deed.