Leadership, Legacy & Love: A Tribute to Mothers

Mom “isms”

practices for leading & living honorably

What can Mothers teach us about leadership, legacy and love?

A lot!

The one certainty in my life is the priceless value of imparting leadership, legacy and love into our children, in other words, being a Mom. Although it’s nice to celebrate Mothers one Sunday every May, for me, Mother (or as my three children affectionately call me, Momma) is much more of a lifestyle than one day of celebration and pamper.

Why? Well, I come from a few generations of “only children” and some very dysfunctional mother/daughter relationships. That said, I have been committed to breaking both cycles since the day I lost my Dad, my hero, in a fatal car accident more than 35 years ago.

Today, I am a very proud Momma of three “adult” children.

For 32 years our ongoing prayer has been to raise kids who don’t have to be fixed when they grow up. Idealistic? Maybe.

Have we succeeded? Hell NO!

Most people need some kind of fixing, but so far, all three of our kids are much less narcissistic than when they first arrived. How so? Well, over the years we’ve survived: Baby Boot Camp, Emergency Room Boot Camp, Up All Night Boot Camp, High School Boot Camp, Bad Grades Boot Camp, Girl Drama Boot Camp, Didn’t “Get in” Boot Camp, College Boot Camp, Speeding Tickets/High Insurance Boot Camp, Boyfriend/Girlfriend Boot Camp and most recent, Empty Nester Boot Camp.

We are stronger and more unified because of it all. And thankfully, by the Grace of God, all three of our children are self-aware and selfless, two qualities I had no clue about at their ages (must be Dad’s influence). And because of these qualities, they’re fun, interested, interesting and cool people we now call friends.

So what have I learned about imparting Leadership, Legacy and Love in the hearts and minds of our children?

Well, being a mother is so much more than a day in May. Motherhood is a noble, worthy calling. Motherhood is a selfless lifestyle, and I don’t say that so Moms will be celebrated as Saints, I say it as a realist. Like leadership, motherhood is a daily commitment to draw the BEST out of our children even when it is hard, inconvenient and uncomfortable.

Being a Momma is courageous leadership at its best. Courage is what enables moms to be tough with their standards and tender with their hearts.  There is nothing transactional or reciprocal about parenting or leadership. Both are transformative and altruistic.

Motherhood and leadership, at their best, requires benevolence, leaders and mothers shouldn’t give to get. Mothers give wholeheartedly without expectation of something in return.

Mom is a lifestyle, it is a practice.

Now as our three children mature as adults, my legacy is less about what I leave FOR them, and more about what I plant IN them.

As a legacy, my deepest desire is to plant in our children timeless life principles to enrich and empower their lives. As an example, when the girls were tuning 25 and 21, respectively, I gave them both a framed list of “101 Things I Want My Girls to Know….”

And when Dylan turned 17, I created a list of 17 Mom “isms”  and printed them on a canvas to hang in his room. I added to the list annually until he turned 21. Today, the canvas hangs on the wall in the bathroom of an apartment he shares with two guys. They have to look at the Mom “isms” every time they pee. It serves as a daily reminder to “be a gentleman, not a jerk,” plus 20 other “isms’ for leading and living honorably.

So, as another Mother’s Day approaches, I really want my children to know…

For me, Love means I care nothing about chocolates and brunch and everything about them—their characters and their ongoing contributions to the world. The best Mother’s Day gift to me is WHO they are becoming and who WE are becoming TOGETHER.

All three of our children are pursing their dreams and making a significant dent in the world.

Taylor-Grace is a Child Life Specialist on the palliative care team at Baylor, Scott & White All Saints in Fort Worth TX. Dedicated to helping children rise strong and navigate the grief of losing loved ones.

Aubrey is a Flight Paramedic for Intermountain Life Flight, one of the youngest paramedic hired and the recipient of the Utah Flight Paramedic of the Year.

Dylan, is a private pilot and CFI (certified flight instructor) training people to safely soar and achieve tailwheel endorsements. He is working to accumulate enough flight hours to fly commercial.

Children can be a very powerful mirror. Their example can be both humbling and inspiring. I am humbled by their compassion and inspired by their contributions. The tables have turned. Their examples are my ongoing inspiration to show up as a better version of me.

I frequently ask, “would my children be proud… Proud of how I live my faith? Proud of how I love their Dad? Proud of my contributions to the world? Proud of my choices? Proud of my lifestyle? Proud to bring their friends home? Proud to call their Momma… their friend?”

To all the Moms, Mommas, Mothers and Mums out there:

What you do is Courageous Leadership at its core. Mom’s, at their best, lead with grit, grace and gravitas.

Motherhood not a right, it is a privilege. You have incredible power to plant timeless and enriching gifts into the hearts, minds and spirits your children. Be intentional. What timeless “isms” do you want to leave as your legacy?

Remember, time with your children will continue to decrease as you age. And even that’s uncertain. I know, we lost my Dad in the blink of an eye. Time is fleeting. Cherish every moment.

The gift of Leadership, Legacy and Love has the power to transform the world, one child at a time.

So as we celebrate Mother’s Day, what timeless leadership and love “isms” do you want to leave as your legacy?