Sunday, May 8, 2011

5 Inspirational Mothers I'll Never Meet

These are 5 women, all of whom raised famous and amazing people, whose mothering has enhanced what I've learned from the great mothers in my family.  They are, none of them, Tiger Mothers or world famous in their own right.  Their claim to immortality is the amazing children they raised.  Here are some of these amazing mothers:

1.  Jane Goodall's Mother - Jane Goodall, the famous chimpanzee observer, biologist, and anthropologist, tells a story about her intense childhood desire to figure out chickens and eggs.  She snuck away and spent the night in the chicken coop, carefully watching the hens.  Her mother was frantic with worry.  But when Jane was found, she was so excited about her discoveries that her mother couldn't bear to scold her, and instead sat and listened as Jane told her about the chickens.

2. Les Paul's Mother - When Les Paul, the guitar master and inventor, got his first bar gig, he was appalled by the loudness he was expected to play over.  He came home and asked his mother for her transistor radio,  which she gave him quite willingly, (according to him.)  He took it apart to make his first amplifier. 

3. Guglielmo Marconi's Mother - Marconi never did well in regular school, all he wanted to do was work with electricity.  He didn't care about any study that didn't enhance this central goal.  Maybe today he would be called autistic, but then, he was seen simply as eccentrically focused. So his mother took him out of school and built him a lab in the attic.  From those studies, he developed his theories of wireless communication that are essential to our world today.

4. Amelia Earhart's Mother - Amelia became obsessed with learning to fly in about 1920.  She needed $1000 dollars for flying lessons, and worked several jobs to earn it.  When she still didn't have enough, her mother, despite misgivings, gave her the rest.  And Amelia learned to fly.

5. Maya Angelou's Grandmother - Maya was raised by her grandmother, whom she called 'Momma.'  She has said that when Maya walked into the room, her grandmother's face lit up.  The knowledge that she brought joy into her grandmother's life simply by being present gave her the strength and courage to become the woman she became.

All these mothers simply loved their children, and supported their dreams wholeheartedly.  If they hadn't, in tiny moments, treasured and honored the people their children were, our world would be so much poorer, so much less.  It was the small sacrifices and gestures that their children remember, not big expenditures, expensive schools, ferocious insistence on test scores and homework or rigorous discipline.  Maybe some great mothers are shown to us by the great children they raise.

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