Purpose Of Mothers

Quote for the Week

Today I want to share one of my favorite quotations. Dorothy Canfield Fisher said it. She was a social activist and an educational reformer in addition to being a best-selling American author in the early part of the 20th century. Eleanor Roosevelt named her as one of the ten most influential women in the United States.


Chances are you don't know Dorothy Canfield's most famous work, Understood Betsy, a children's book about an orphaned girl sent to live with relatives in Vermont. Something else you may not know is that she's the one who brought the Montessori child rearing method to the United States. She also presided over the first adult education program in the U.S. and she was a member of the Book of the Month Club selection committee from 1925 to 1951, thus shaping our country's literary taste.

What She Said

A mother is not a person to lean on but a person to make leaning unnecessary.

I'd never read that quotation until many years ago when all our kids were teenagers. That simple sentence had resonance for me because I realized that I had raised my children with that philosophy. I'd tried to make them strong and resilient and tried to give them the skills necessary to lead a successful life.

I wanted all of them, boys and girls, to know how to manage money as well as how to cook a meal and iron a shirt; how to be well-mannered as well as how to be assertive. I also wanted to teach them that I would always be there for them to celebrate their triumphs or stand with them if they make a bonehead mistake, whatever is required. I hope I succeeded.

Takeaway Truth

The hardest job in the world is being a parent. Happy Mother's Day to all who have tackled that job and done the best they could.

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