Ebb and Flow

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 9, 1999

DEBORAH CORRAO / L’Observateur / May 9, 1999

I thought about writing a column today as a tribute to my mother for Mother’s Day.

Mom, I want you to know that I love you, but I’d like to stray from the subject for a little while.

As a child I was lucky enough to have a loving, caring mother. If you wereas fortunate as I was, the relationship you had with her was probably the closest one you would have with another human being until you reached adulthood.

I realize, however, that today there are many children who are not so lucky.

Some children are separated from their mothers by death or divorce. Somemay be raised by relatives or foster parents. Some may even live with anatural mother who, for one reason or another, is unable to provide the love and nurturing the child needs.

I met Janice Broughton, a foster mother, as an assignment for a special River Current section about mothers. Janice has fostered 135 children inaddition to raising four of her own. She adopted three of them and is in theprocess of adopting a fourth.

The lesson I have learned from Janice and others like her is that each child deserves a loving person in their lives, be it a natural mother or not, who provides some safety and stability and selfless devotion to raising that child to become a valuable member of society.

We don’t all have to be foster parents, but each one of us can make a difference in the life of a child. Each of us can either volunteer as a mentor, coach a softball team, teach church school. Each of us has a gift we can share with a child even if it is just an encouraging word to a child who enters our life for one brief moment.

What would happen if we each made it our goal to go out of our way once in a while to be extra kind to a child other than our own? Ask a child how he or she is doing? Buy a little gift? Offer a word of encouragement or support? Many years ago, while attending a piano recital, I was able to offer words of encouragement to a young girl who had become intensely nervous over her upcoming performance. I had had a similar experience years before asa youngster at my first piano recital.

Years later, when that little girl graduated from high school at the top of her class, I ran into her mother. After I congratulated her on herdaughter’s success, she thanked me for those words of encouragement that I had not even remembered giving and told me what a difference they had made in her child’s life.

It was then I realized you can have an effect on a young life, for better or for worse, without even knowing it. Even a casual word can make a hugeimpression on a child.

So, this Mother’s Day I encourage all of you, male and female, young and old, to reach out to a child. You will make a difference.And, by the way, Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! Back to Top

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