We come from a long line of wise and amazing women…
When it comes to amazing and phenomenal women, Women’s History Month offers us the perfect opportunity to celebrate who they’ve helped us become and honor and appreciate their sacrifices and lessons. These women are our mothers, other mothers, aunts, cousins, grandmothers, friends, mentors—and they come in all shapes, sizes and places and each one is precious.
I need two favors this month for these remarkable women: (1) all those mushy letters, cards and flowers you’ve been meaning to send, please get up now and do it before you forget. In this edition of Gracefull I’m sharing six of my favorite women lessons—(2) please share yours via Facebook and Twitter:
Lesson #1: From Mary Lou Bradley Woods: If you walk/act like you know where you’re going, people will move out of your way and let you through. Here’s why: What we see is positive energy, attitude, pride, confidence and purpose all wrapped in one beautiful package. From this day forward, don’t just walk into a room, own it!—This is different from arrogance, and taking up all the air while making an appearance to be seen —this is walking erect, with your head held high, and wearing your “I’m here, so reckon with me” game face.
Lesson #2: From Orelia Lavern Archibald Jones Cooper Whitelaw: Be prepared for excellence and greatness. Don’t cut corners and always give, do, and be your best and put your best foot forward. Without apology or excuses she was vigilant and meticulous in her dress, speech and presentation. She believed there was always someone watching who might want to be like her. She was right! I say give them something worthy of emulation.
Lesson #3: From former Essence Magazine Executive Editor Susan Taylor: Pain is information. Whether physical or emotional, pay attention, honor what you feel and attend to it today. Remember, you know you better than anyone else—listen.
Lesson #4: From Emma Jones Bowles: Have your own money so you won’t be standing around with your hand out asking other people for what you need. She was frugal but not cheap, generous but not extravagant and she recycled darned near everything. She said treat people the way you want to be treated—better yet, treat people the way THEY want to be treated. This takes a little more time and effort, but it’s worth it.
Lesson #5: From Clara Jones Bond: Don’t quit. If she recited it once, she did it a thousand times: “Once a task is begun, never leave it till it’s done. Be the task great or small, do it well or not at all.” I heard her every time. Her words are a gentle reminder to go one more round, get up one more time, make one phone call, and knock on one more door.
Lesson #6: From Irene Prewitt Jones and her granddaughter, Alvis M. Bond: There’s enough you don’t know to make a whole brand new world! Or try it the way Alvis puts it: “You can’t lead where you don’t go and you can’t teach what you don’t know.” Here’s my spin: there’s soooo much to know and learn—listen to wise counsel and learn from the mistakes of others. Take risks, read all you can, take advantage of opportunities to invest in yourself, mentor, and be a perpetual learner.
Finally, a salute to one of my favorite phenomenal women, Mrs. Bernice Esterline Goodlow Hopson, my mother in law. I married her eldest son and she was always so loving, kind, encouraging, supportive and proud of me — I adored and deeply admired her and I never wanted to disappoint her. It was no secret—I told her every chance I got. She passed away this past Sunday surrounded by her family. Our loss is great but she loved and trusted God and so do we. I loved talking to her on the phone because she’d identify herself and say “Hey Darlin,’ this is Muthhher.” She was beautiful, strong, generous, courageous, forward thinking and incredibly incredible.
And so are you…be blessed and keep shining!