Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Mother

When I was a child, my mother would read to Patrick and I at the end of every day. She chose books and stories of heroes like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln (for my brother), as well as Elizabeth Blackwell and Florence Nightengale (for me). While snuggled together in bed, we learned about what Washington and Lincoln contributed to our nation, about how Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman doctor admidst furious persecution, and about the thousands of lives Florence Nightengale saved in her gentle and loving way. Dry reading for a kid, you might think, but I loved it. I admired not only the things those historical giants accomplished but also the virtues they espoused. They were true heroes because they not only changed and saved lives but they also demonstrated how to live those lives with honor.

In spite of the fact that I was well-acquainted with the great ones of the past (or at least American past), when I was asked to write a paper in 6th grade about my hero, I chose my mother. I chose her because I knew her better than any other person and, even at that closest proximity, I admired and wanted to be like her. I had been able to watch her model the faith of Washington, the determination of Blackwell, the integrity of Lincoln, and the compassion of Nightengale in my own home.


In the book, Standing for Something, (written when I was a young teenager) Gordon B. Hinkley comments, "I feel sorry for today's generation, which seems bereft of heroes. Men and women who by virtue of their contributions and acheviements seem larger than life, and who can be admired for the full breadth and depth of their moral makeup are a vanishing breed."

While I was reading this passage last week, I thought first of my mother, for she was my childhood hero. As a sixth-grader, I was proud to be her daughter; now I realize I should be eternally grateful instead.