First of all, yes that is my mother on the back of my Indian Chief motorcycle. It was a few years back, at an Operation HOPE organizational day in he park, but my mother — Ms. Juanita Smith — is as cool today as she was back then. Sure, over the years we have had our moments, but "every good marriage is made of constructive friction." That rule does not only apply to husband and wife, but mother and son, brother to brother, friend to friend, company to community, community to country, and so on, and so on. I am blessed that my mother has allowed me the freedom over the years to talk with her direct and honestly, and as a result, she raised me well, and along the way we both grew as individuals, and God's children. We both have. My mother is an amazing women, talented and gifted in so many ways, but her enduring legacy will be how she almost single handedly raised three children (my brother Dave D. Harris my sister Mara Lamont Hoskins, and me), all of which are today productive members of society.
My mother is indicative of the story of so many amazing women, and mothers in society, who simply rose to the occasion and "did what they had to do," against what seemed to be all odds — and did their job well. Women don't to this day, get the credit they so deserve, but their impact is undeniable.
If you give women 2 years of primary education in Africa, you will raise the entire village out of poverty.
If you want to know the magic of micro-finance and micro-credit, then look to women as borrowers that repay 95% of their loans.
If you want to know the magic of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or his strategist Ambassador Andrew Young, look no further than their wives and closest advisors — Mrs. Coretta Scott King and Jean Childs Young.
Yes, today is a day to give credit to the women that we love, and specifically, our mothers.
Luckily for me, I have had a real opportunity to hang and spend quality time with my mother, as she traveled with me from Alaska to throughout Africa and Europe and across America over the years. I have had the opportunity to laugh with my mother, and cry with my mother, and yes, even argue….with my mother. But most of all, I have had the opportunity to share genuine love and care, with my mother, and this is what endures all.
Such a time is this weekend, as my mother and her three sisters (Lorraine, Essie and Lessie) all hung with me here at my home in Atlanta over the long Mother's Day weekend. And boy did we have a good time, with enough love, to go around.
This to me is what Mother's Day is all about; about making sure you don't live a life of regret, about giving them their flowers now, when they can appreciate them, and that you never hold back on telling your mother how much you love them, today, as tomorrow is promised to no one.
Close that door to pain, by opening your heart to hope.
If you have an "issue" with your mother, yes I do understand — but get over it still. It was my mentor Quincy Jones who told me "we all need a moritorium on childhood trauma."
Time passes by, before you know it, and then the moment is gone. And at some point, it becomes too late to "make things right." Make things right, with whomever you love, but certainly, your mother.
Love your mother with all the energy (and forgiveness if that is appropriate) that you have; as she is the only mother you will ever have, drama included (smile).
Onward with HOPE,
John Hope Bryant