Mother Toya Graham’s act of pulling her son out of the Baltimore riots has drawn both praise and criticism. She believed she may have saved his life while enforcing the value that violence against the police is unacceptable. Whether you believe that she employed a just act of discipline or that she promoted violence herself by striking her son, one thing is certain: A mother has influence over her children.
As mothers we are to teach our children how to be productive and happy citizens. But what if we are struggling ourselves? What if our children see us in the grasp of depression and anxiety? This is ok: We are human, too. But how we resolve our dilemmas, despite our mental health, determines the patterns our children will repeat. If we want our children to approach life decisions with confidence, we have to role model good decision making skills, planning skills, and ethics.
Easier said than done. As caretakers of the world, mothers tend to experience increased stress and responsibility and seldom seek help for themselves. Hopefully the mistakes we make have minimal impact and our children grow to make wise decisions. If they don’t, we can certainly exert our influence on them, similarly or not to Ms. Graham’s demonstration toward her 16 year old. Perhaps it will be a collective mothers’ influence that sways the world toward peace. But it begins with each one of us practicing mindful self-care and being healthy, productive and happy ourselves.