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Mother's Day About Impact, Not Perfection

Even the worst of mothers can have positive influence

Today is Mother's Day – a day where we  are encouraged to spend an entire Sunday afternoon trying to show our mothers as much devotion as possible in thanks for what they have done.

During the two weeks leading up to it, we are hammered with ads and references trying to show us how perfect mothers are. 

Unfortunately, having worked with literally over 100,000 kids in my lifetime, I can say with certainty that not only are mothers not perfect, some of them are downright horrible. When you get to see motherhood through the eyes of so many young minds, it is clear that motherhood is never about the perfection society wants us to imagine, but, instead, about the impact a mother has on those she bore. 

I am one of the fortunate ones. God has overblessed me by placing four amazing mothers directly in my path – both my grandmothers, my own mother, and my wife. Their sacrifice, grace, and willingness to be there for those they loved through the most difficult of times created a legacy of love an opportunity in my children that surpasses anything I think they thought possible. 

None of them are perfect, and I hope they never tried to be. It's not possible, and it's a burden that would be too great to carry. Their imperfections made them human, which, in turn, became a philosophy on my part. 

As I mentored, coached and taught all those young men and women over the years, I made sure they knew that not only was it OK to make mistakes, it was encouraged. Mistakes are how we learn; how we become better.

I always begin by making them say their ABCs, which most teenagers do with ease, followed by asking whether anyone should be impressed by the fact they didn't make a mistake. 

They soon come to realize that the goal isn't perfection and mistakes are nothing to fear. Instead, they adopt the mantra that if they aren't making mistakes, they aren't trying hard enough, a concept that frees them to make the most of their own world and destiny.

The four mothers I mentioned rarely know the kids I work with and definitely don't know how the impact of what they have done has spidered out into the lives of so many. From there, the things they have said and done, will pass even further into more lives, potentially touching millions with only two degrees of separation between them.

Those teens who had a horrible mother get to experience the wisdom, grace and patience passed through me to them in hopes they get the benefit through knowledge and example that I was fortunate to have first-hand. They get a meal when they might not have it, someone willing to listen when they need it, and encouragement that anything is possible under the most improbable of circumstances. 

While it's physically my body trying to help these young men and women, it's 100 percent the echo of the mothers in my life trying to help me live up to the example they set. 

What I have seen is that even the worst of mothers can have a positive impact. Young men and women whose childhoods were turned into nightmares by the choices of their mothers have grown up time and again looking for a wife who will be a caring, present mother, or hoping to become the mother their own parent never was. 

More often than not, they are successful in their effort.

So, today we don't celebrate the idea of a perfect mother. There's no such thing. 

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Instead, we celebrate the impact mothers have on our lives. 

We thank those that read to us, stood on their porch and invited us and our friends in to eat, didn't coddle us when we messed up, and those who were simply there even though the world had exhausted them to its farthest extents. 

For those who were a frightening mess, we hope you find a way to pull it together one day and that your child used what you went through for good. We pray that the love and influence of other mothers found their way into your child, resulting in a positive impact while you get it together. 

Speaking to those few, there's still time if you truly have a heart to turn it around. Mistakes happen and can be forgiven if you truly make an effort to learn form them.

It's never too late to have a positive effect as a mother. That's why we celebrate such a powerful thing today.


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