Life is amazing. It appears in many respects that the plan for children at a young age has already been set — goals and aspirations have been laid and the navigators of this journey called life are our mothers: the nurturers, supporters, those that will provide guidance for us when we make our grand entrance on to this planet we call Earth.
My fondest memories of growing up in Oklahoma City were having the love and support of my mother. My mother was like Oklahoma moms of today. She had big dreams and the positive energy that would guide and direct my path. Seeing my mother in the audience at a school program or listening to me practice the piano day after day or to hear her say after I participated in the first sit-in at Katz Drug Store, “I am so proud of you. This took a lot of courage.” All of these things helped make me the woman that I am today.
There is a common goal among this special group of women. They come from different ethnic backgrounds and professions, all wanting the best for their children and committed to raising contributing members of society. Tiffany Hill-Smith is the first lady of Langston University and a practicing attorney. But her most important task is motherhood.
“It is my most important job, and my children always come first,” she said. “I put them at the front of everything. There is never a break, and that is a good thing, because they are my priority.”
Roxana Mendoza, a mother of four who is a marketing and sales professional, believes that one's growth is grounded by their spirituality.
“When God is inside them, everything is OK, and the decisions and choices that children make will be good ones,” Mendoza said. “We are human, everyone will make mistakes; however, it is about recognizing the issue, not repeating it and learning from it.”
Moms are helping their children understand who they are, to respect themselves and to respect others.
As an owner of Collected Thread, Lindsay Zodrow is a part of a community where creativity, self-expression, diversity and acceptance are a normal part of life.
“In today's society, helping children through continuous conversation about life and living, asking and answering their questions is critical to one's growth and development,” Zodrow said. “We find ourselves sheltering our children from the world; thereby creating a level of fear that makes it impossible for them to grow.”
The support of the community, good communication and our continuous ability to listen may make all the difference in the world.
Being of service to the planet and all of God's perfectly created beings is how we grow as individuals and as a collective. Some may call it family, some times based upon the blood that runs through our veins, but most of the time by the love that we have for each other.
Danya Bear, a college student and member of the Meskwaki Nation, was raised on the importance of family and all of the support that goes along with caring and compassion.
“It is the way we live, helping others, stepping outside ourselves and creating that bond that allows us to be sensitive to others,” Bear said. “We are all family connected by the love of mankind. That is what my child will be taught.”
We hear the question “How do I make sure that my child will grow into a contributing responsible member of society?”
Luisa Marticio, mother of two from the Philippines and new resident to Oklahoma, says planning is the key.
It's important to prepare for the future, she said. Preparation helps to ensure that our children are healthy and happy.
God, family, community, compassion, service and financial responsibility are the components that lay the foundation for growth and development for every child in the world; however, to have knowledge and education is the icing on the cake. To understand all the nuances of life, from mathematics to literature and science, gives a child the ingredients they need to be successful. All the moms agree that taking action to nurture, support and love their children to provide Oklahoma with the talent, skill and heart needed to be great is what their dreams are for their children.
Ayanna Najuma is a syndicated columnist and a principal with Lincoln-McLeod.