while i was back east for a wedding, my mum returned to her prep school alma mater to participate in a series of panels comprised of female graduates in medicine, science, the arts, etc., presented in celebration of the school’s anniversary.
and mum was on stage speaking about philanthropy.
there has never been a moment in my life that i wasn’t proud of her, but yesterday when she told me about her weekend my pride hit a new peak.
you see, she is not just our mother. or my father’s wife. she has also given her life to service. in all sorts of ways. sitting on boards, volunteering time, raising money, organizing, and connecting dots for a wide range of causes.
to her, it’s assumed. it’s not a great sacrifice, it’s a requirement. though it should be mentioned she isn’t pious about it either. i appreciate that she’s the first one to offer the fact that her generation had a different type of work life than ours.
and for the group of high school age girls she was speaking to? my mom had the foresight to admit that we probably don’t know what their world will look like when they set out post-college.
i asked her what big theme was embedded in her talk. she said there was one point she wanted to hammer home & then - on the other hand - there was a primary thread that strung together the diverse group of accomplished women in the various panels.
for her, she focused on encouraging the current students and visiting alumni that no matter where you are or what interests you hold, there are needs in your community that will benefit from any time and talent you have to spare. big or small, making a difference makes a difference. find a cause you are passionate about and it will grow from there. for her it’s been childrens’ causes, health, and education. (photo above: mum at cristel house in south africa)
but my mother was practically jumping out of her seat to share with me the overarching theme emanating from these successful, powerful women. doctors, lawyers, educators, mothers, wives, partners, scientists, architects, philanthropists, all of them said:
remember that no one’s path in life is straight.