By Patricia Roberts
Managing Director, AllianceBernstein
May 11, 2014
When I speak with adult children of all ages about the admiration they have for their mothers, the topic of education always seems to surface. I am regularly reminded of and inspired by the critical role women play in the educational pursuits of those they love.
At last week’s amazing CFED Children’s Savings Conference in Washington, D.C. in the opening plenary, Paula Sammons, program officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, spoke in an incredibly moving way of her mother. An immigrant from Japan finding herself divorced with three small children, Paula’s mom was determined to provide the best life she could for her family. Paula shared her discovery as a teen that her mother had been making weekly bank deposits of $1-2 a week for each of her children and thereby creating a small but valuable nest egg for college. She remarked, “I am so grateful to my mother for the incredible sacrifices and commitment she had to our future and our dreams all those years, and to all the other parents who are doing the same for their children, even when they have so little.” The nods of affirmation and the roaring applause Paula received from the hundreds of attendees was clearly not just for her, but for her mother as well, and the countless others like her around the globe and the children they inspire.
This weekend and well beyond, as we celebrate the dedication shown by mothers everywhere:
- Take time to reflect on and acknowledge the support and encouragement you received from your mother or other role models throughout your journey. If you’re fortunate to have a mom who is still around, offer her a special thank you for her commitment to your future. If your mom has passed on, share her contribution with others as it lives on through you.
- Celebrate the role you’ve played in the lives of young people in your life and consider deepening your support in any way you can. Demonstrating your own savings habits goes a long way in inspiring children in your life and engaging in age appropriate conversations about educational and career options helps show you believe in them.
- Help moms-to-be and new moms get off to a strong start by replacing more traditional gifts (which are often quickly outgrown) with a contribution to a college savings account as a baby shower or baby arrival gift. Your thoughtful present may quickly become a favorite as it helps moms (and dads) get an early start on an important goal, while opening the door for other friends and family to contribute as well.
On a personal note, as I prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day with my own mom, I am reminded of her unending support of her four children and her commitment to our future. Also a single mom like Paula’s, she worked tirelessly and left no stone unturned to assure we could follow our dreams. My mom’s amazing faith, unconditional love, can-do attitude, strong work ethic, ability to get by on a very tight budget, along with her support of our education and aspirations, instilled priceless values in us. My siblings and I are as proud of her as she is of each of us.
Happy Mother’s Day to all!