Mother’s Day Gratitude

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. This provides an excellent opportunity for us to practice gratitude and celebrate the mothers that have touched our lives.

My Mother

My mother and I enjoy a close relationship. We talk every week on the phone, often for an hour or more during my long run. I treasure these conversations, and I know she does too.

During my first experience with a leadership coach in 2007, I realized how much of who I am has been shaped by my mother. At one point, he shared an article on authentic leadership with me and invited me to document my own life story and how it shaped my leadership. The exercise proved to be far more profound than expected. Here is an excerpt from that exercise.

Looking back, I can see that one of the most pivotal experiences in my life was when my parents got divorced. At the time, I was ten years old, which brought many changes. My mother went back to work and embarked upon a period of personal growth – by the time I was in high school, my mom had completed a metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly (her words, not mine). My sister and I spent several years shuttling back and forth between our two homes, and when we were old enough to choose for ourselves, we both decided to live with our mother. It was a busy time for her, starting a new career after years as a stay-at-home mother, creating a culture of responsibility and independence. We did our own laundry, prepared our own meals, and shared all household chores.

Spending much of my home life with an older sister and my mother bred sensitivity and empathy in me. My mom was going through therapy, and as she grew from those experiences, she helped my sister and me grow as well. She encouraged us to be honest and open with one another and share our feelings. As my sister went through the difficult years of high school, I often found myself mediating the mother-daughter battles, which are typical of that age. My mom told me countless times that someday I would be a wonderful husband to some lucky lady. Those experiences have also shaped and formed the foundations at the core of my leadership abilities.

To anyone who has ever commented on my empathy and my caring nature, please thank my mom. 

The headline photo is my favorite picture of my mother and me. When she first began clowning, I was in junior high school, and I’ll confess I was a bit embarrassed. For some time, I didn’t tell my friends she was clowning. I am not sure when I put that embarrassment to rest, but I know I was proudly embracing my mother the clown by my first year of high school. I have a very fond memory of her visiting my Geometry class as a clown with a giant helium balloon to celebrate the birthday of my all-time favorite teacher, Richard Slivoskey.*

Thank you, mom. 

My Wife

My wife and I will celebrate 25 years of marriage in June. I know she does not like the spotlight. Respecting that preference, I’ll keep my public gratitude to Gini brief. Thank you for bearing the lion’s share of the parenting responsibilities over the past two decades as I focused (at times too much so) on my career. I am grateful for the loving, caring mother you have been to our children. I am equally thankful for your passion as their teacher and educator through their homeschooling. 

Thank you, Gini.

Your Turn

Who are the mothers that mean the most in your life? You’ve got a week. Please find the time to express your gratitude to each of them.

Schedule time with Josh.

Want to comment? Join the conversation on LinkedIn.

* If you are a fellow graduate of the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, you may be surprised to hear that Mr. Slivoskey was once a teacher. He was, and he was damn good. An extra thank you to Mr. Slivoskey, who knew thirty-five years ago that I was meant to help others grow.