Imagine being a parent, and your 10-year-old asks you for a computer in order to learn to type and become a writer. How would you respond? Would you invest in that dream? Or assume that an indecisive child couldn’t possibly know what they wanted to do long term in grade school?
Well, my mother actually provided the best mentorship I could have ever imagined. From life lessons in time and money management, to discipline and how to be a successful adult, my mom was a living example of everything that made me who I am today.
So, I was that kid who would sneak out of bed at night and watch tv after my bedtime. My favorite show to watch wasn’t anything anyone would expect however, but “Sex and the City.” I wasn’t in love with the show for the lewd reasons most would assume – I wanted to be Carrie Bradshaw.
I saw her using the creative outlet of writing to make a good living, she had impeccable style, several really hot guys on standby, and a group of successful women alongside her to call friends. I WANTED THAT!
So I decided that I wanted to be a writer. Even though I was young, I knew that writing required typing skills and the ability to tell a story. So I asked my mom for my own computer. Of course because there was a shared “family computer” in our home, this would be a hard sell. If I was to ask my mom for ANYTHING there had to be a legitimate reason why it is needed, understand its cost, and acknowledge its value.
I didn’t realize this then, but those things were teaching me the value of money and the importance of wisely investing.
So I told her that I needed a computer to learn how to type and become a writer. With an expert poker face, she listened and gave very little response to my request.
About 3 weeks after that conversation – I got my computer! But not without one of the “mini-mom-lectures” that always had heavy meaning. I remember my mom looking at me with a serious face that screamed, this is a teachable moment and said,
“If this is what you love, pursue it, perfect it, and make people pay attention to you with your skills.” Then, she lovingly added, “…and in everything that you do, to thine own self be true.”
Now at the time the quote was too heavy for me to truly internalize and fully understand. However, as you can see it was something that I never forgot.
Although my mother was not the sit-down-and-teach-you-life type of parent; she used an even more effective method for me. She led by example with her life lessons, money management, and creativity: the ultimate mom-mentorship. Knowing her mentoring style, I remember paying even closer attention to her after I received my computer.
Her Work Ethic As My Blueprint
So my mom did what she loved, working as a Medical Laboratory Technician in a children’s hospital. However, watching her made me realize that doing what you love will also require a level of sacrifice. She typically worked 10-hour-shifts during odd hours, with maybe only one day off per week. So in exchange for happiness in her career and monetary success, she sacrificed her time with the ones she loved.
Despite the sacrifice involved, I used her work ethic as my blueprint to the life that I envisioned as a creative. Every day I would bring magazines into my bedroom from the coffee table, typing every word, from cover to cover with the goal of increasing my typing speed. Soon, my typing speed increased, and I was able to type without watching the keyboard or my fingers. Once I felt that I had mastered that, I began to train my mind to retain information that I took from articles and I’d flip the story around in my mind, then type out my version of events.
I was so into challenging my writing skills everyday I would zone out for hours. My mother would come into my room at 2am sometime and catch me with my desk light on, still typing away. She would just smile and close my door without saying a word.
I believe that was when my mother truly recognized my love and dedication to reading and becoming a writer. So, she did what any great mentor would do - she flooded me with different types of books and learning material to enhance my craft. Out of all the books that I received, there was one book that became one of my all-time faves. It’s a book by the poet Nikki Giovanni, entitled Those Who Ride Night Winds.
Although Nikki Giovanni was heavy content for someone at such a young age, my mother always pushed me to challenge myself in my learning and creativity and Nikki Giovanni inspired me even more to push beyond limits. That book along with my mother’s teachings of being true to myself aligned perfectly.
Around the same time that I was reading Those Who Ride Night Winds, I discovered an old sketch book that displayed what an amazing artist and clothing designer my mom was. She fed her creative side silently, and never truly pursued it. But seeing this was confirmation for me that what I aspired to do was already in me.
So my passion for writing developed in the form of poetry. And, as soon as my mother recognized my creative ability, she entered my writing into contests and sent me to writing workshops and additional classes to help improve my ability. Soon, I had created a poetry piece which surpassed every other contestant in my school, my school district, my county, and my state – and was published in the “Young Authors Anthology of Poetry.” That was the confirmation that I needed to prove to myself and everyone around me that I was a writer, thanks to “mom-mentoring.”
As I was transitioning to become a better writer, taking high school classes in middle school, and college classes in high school, my mother was being a living example of another major life lesson: work hard to acquire things that appreciate over time and create long term value.
We Are Born To Build
My mother went from long hours at one job, to long hours at TWO jobs. At the time, I was sick to my stomach watching how tired my mom always appeared to be - but it was like she just wouldn’t give herself a break. Before I knew it, we moved from an apartment to a home – which my mom had built from the ground up, right before my eyes on my grandparents’ land. She was then able to quit her night job and focus on doing what she loved during the day and living her best life, with more spare time in her new home.
She never physically told me how she went from living with my grandparents, to moving into her own apartment to having a home built alone as a single parent mother – however she did SHOW ME with the best illustration that I could ever imagine. With proper money management, budgeting, using credit to your advantage instead of your leisure, and having a plan, I saw through her that anything was possible.
In 2014, my mother lost her battle with Ovarian Cancer. However, before my mother passed away, I wrote a poetry book entitled, The Preface, which I composed, edited, and self-published in a 7-week timespan. I honestly knew in my heart that my mom did not have long to live, so I put myself on a race against time to publish my first book. My book ended up being released 5-months before my mother passed away, and she purchased 5-copies before she died.
The ultimate goal in life for me was for my mother, my inspiration, my mentor to see me become a published author, and she did.
She may no longer be here physically - however she left me with her legacy, her creativity, her strong work ethic, her discipline, her financial wisdom, and her heart. All of those things combined make her the biggest influence and mentor in my life then, now, and forever.
As I always do, I dedicate this and everything that I write to my mother and her amazing mentorship throughout my life.
Has your mother also been your lifelong mentor? If so, comment and drop a “HEART!” Let’s show love to the women who have helped mold us into the strong men and women that we are.
About the Author
Ebony C. is a free-spirited, life-loving, self-published author and copywriter. Specializing in creating thought leadership content for businesses with the fastest turnaround time in the industry - she is known as the "48-Hour Copywriting Queen." Always open to be of service to anyone needing to enhance their business or anyone just needing some good #PositiveVibesOnly energy you can find all things Ebony through “The Ynobe Brand” at: WWW.THEYNOBEBRAND.COM (@theynobebrand on all platforms).