Throughout my management career, I have maintained a level of toughness and inflexibility concerning best practices. Latent potential is something almost every one has in abundance, although allowing it to surface is hard to do on our own. Often someone else is required to stir us out of our lulled condition. My mom, a wonderfully courageous woman, helped me and my seven siblings rise above the fray.
Born in 1919, my mother’s teenage years coincided with the Great Depression. Needless to say, she was used to hardship and obstacles which were overcome with good old-fashioned tenacity. My mom had the wisdom and courage to ensure that her children would also be able to thrive in the midst of hardship and set backs.
I will never forget a particular Sunday afternoon in 1970 – I was a teenager. I went to the local roller skating rink with some friends. This was my first roller skating experience, so it took me about twenty minutes to learn to balance myself on skates. Being a cocky sixteen year old, once I mastered the skating, I started to get a little reckless and entered a turn at a high speed and lost my balance, fell and hurt myself badly. After a trip to the emergency room, I was diagnosed with a broken arm. When I arrived home from the hospital, later that Sunday afternoon, my mother reminded me that tomorrow was Monday – a school day.
She told me that my broken arm would not keep me out of school. Then she handed me the writing pad and pen and she suggested that I learn to write with my left hand. I sat at the dining room table for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening learning to write with my left hand.
My mother had enough wisdom and courage to not view me as a disabled person when I arrived home from the hospital. Instead, she saw the latent potential that resided deep inside me as well as my ability to perfect my left-hand writing skills.
I learned much from that experience. Obstacles are ever present, and have a way of setting us back temporarily, and often a wise and courageous mother can help to bring to surface our latent potential. I urge moms everywhere to be courageous and wise in helping their children realize their full potential.