“She’s bigger because of you!”
That’s what I thought as I listened to my friend be praised about his daughter’s dancing last week Sunday.
I heard gushing admiration flow from the lips of mega mom, Elder Myra. This blog is a birthday tribute to you today. Friends, you should know that her daughter, my friend, is the first female Bishop in their local denomination. With the confidence of raising a powerful daughter, she unreservedly acknowledged the impact that watching this dad’s daughter had on her.
As I listened, I had flashbacks of the little girl who we watched grow up and bloom into a beautiful and talented young lady.
Also, imagine a son, standing tall and towering over his dad. He is smiling as he lays his hand across his shoulders, knowing that he is building on those shoulders. When I enquired of this young man what his career goals were, because he attended a school known for its sporting prowess, he said engineering. From a family of land developers and renovation experts, this man-child was taking it to the next level. He will be bigger because of him.
The same message continued all week as I rushed around trying to get some business done. I had several encounters with some of my girlfriends and their moms that caused me to acknowledge again how we are building on their shoulders. We are not bigger than them. We have a bigger impact because of them.
Research shows that social support is additive in that children build on the support that they receive at home, and extend that to what is received from teachers and peers gained through the formal education process (Mitchell, 2003). Each level of social support strengthens the success gained on previous levels, producing a much better socially adapted individual (Dalton, Elias & Wandersman, 2007; Mitchell, Eilas & Branche, 2015). More, than that, research also shows that when we have role models, we generally do much better in that area (Microsoft, 2017). And, it starts with our parents.
This week strengthened the research evidence for me as I had several memorable experiences. Let us go back to the powerful dancing lady. Where did I meet her? I met her while visiting the church she attends with her family. As a result of the exposure to great worship music and the dance team that engaged her physical strength and her creativity, she chose to dance to the song, “You’re Bigger.” I had to Google the lyrics. And, I was totally impressed by Jekalyn Carr’s message. A few of the lines are below:
You’re bigger than, the problems I’ve faced
You’re bigger than, the disasters that I’ve seen
You’re bigger, You’re so much bigger Jesus
Than what this life may bring
You’re bigger than the universe, yes you are
You’re bigger than the Sun and the Stars
You’re bigger than the things, bigger than the things
That can tear me apart (Allundria Carr, 2016).
The power of the message from her family and her church community supported what she was heading off to next – a lab class at her university. She’s bigger because of her parents who were dropping her off at school.
Yesterday, I also ran into a colleague who complimented me and another colleague as we met up in the parking lot. She was lavish with her compliments on the style of our clothing as well as the colour coordination. What did we discover? Both of our mothers shopped for us. We also acknowledged that the times when we receive the most compliments are when we wear something that our mothers have bought for us. So, we both are dressed and sent out into the world dressed in styles that our mothers believe present their gifts to the world. We are truly bigger in the world because of them.
After a tiresome day, I simply wanted to relax for the evening, when I got a query from my girlfriend overseas asking if I remembered the name of a restaurant that we had visited. Why? Her mother was visiting and she wanted her to experience it. As we messaged back and forth, I noticed again how much bigger this daughter is because of her mother’s sacrifices. Her mother gave up her career, moved to a foreign country and retrained in order to offer her daughter a better opportunity. Today, her daughter is working in a technology field related to her mother’s latter career. She is bigger because of her sacrifices.
During the week, my mom shared the following text message with me that she had received from a friend:
I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men. They are far superior and always have been. Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she will give you a baby. If you give her a house, she will make you a home. If you give her groceries, she will give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she will give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of **!! (William Golding, 1911-1993).
My mother lavishly shares text messages that inspire her. So, I benefit from her community when I try to relax from the day’s challenge. This one celebrated the contribution that women make in doubling whatever is given to them – be it family, work, and community. So, I am bigger because of my mom’s role in my life.
For all of us who have the benefit of our parents, natural or surrogates, who make investments in us with whatever they have – rhyme, reason, or style, know that without a doubt, you are destined to be bigger because of them.
Tell your parent(s) today how much bigger you are because of them. Acknowledge to your child(ren) or to your friend that the impact that you have on the world is bigger because of all your parents shared with you. Then, buy a copy of Dear Little Sister, … on Lulu Press for every girl that you want to know that she is bigger because of her parent(s). And, remember, Dear Little Brother, … is just around the bend.