I have lived my life around some strong, remarkable women who have achieved their goals under some of the most difficult circumstances. Women have such a strong endurance when it comes to doing whatever they must in order to accomplish their goals. Especially when children are involved, women can rise to uncommon heights ready to not only defend their children, but also are willing and capable of mustering enough strength and wisdom to provide for their families.
First Self-made Female Millionaire
Madam C.J. Walker was such a prolific businesswoman who succeeded against the odds during a rather racial and violent time against African Americans. In 1904, after hearing Booker T. Washington speak, Sarah, which was her name before she took on the name Madam C.J. Walker, was inspired to go into business for herself. A few months later, Sarah perfects the recipe for her hair formula and she begins doing hair-straightening demonstrations with a hot steel comb that was given to her by one of her washing clients. Sarah’s business started to grow, with a steady stream of clients who wanted their hair straightened and a portion of her scalp formula, which she dished out in tin cups. Her ability to recognize a need, come up with a product and sell it to the masses was what made her the first Black woman millionaire.
A Great Private School
My lovely wife, Debra is one of those strong intelligent women who is presently living her dream of besides being married to me, but also running a preschool and academy. As a young woman, she matriculated from Hampton University with a degree in nursing while working hard to pay for her tuition. Afterward, she served eight years in the military as a nurse obtaining the rank of Captain. This is when she met me, the dream of her life and resigned her commission and started moving up the civilian medical administration ladder. She turned down a six-figure job and started the preschool and academy with just a dream and her faith in God. Despite my efforts of talking to her about delaying the process of establishing the school for six months, she convinced me that if not now, then when; and so we plowed ahead to establish one of the greatest private schools in our city.
The Most Influential Woman in the World
I cannot go any further without bringing into focus one of the most successful women of our time, Oprah Winfrey. She overcame the regret and shame of being raped and molested as if it was her fault, and personally grew to conquer a male dominated industry with her vision and gift in speaking. She crossed racial and gender barriers and became one of the top ten influential persons in America.
Down through the centuries, mothers have influenced the lives of their children far more than fathers have. I am not saying that fathers have not had an impact on the children, but mothers are far more nurturing than fathers are. When athletes are being interviewed they will usually say, “Hi Mom!” to the camera. Women have endured physical and verbal abuse, rape, low wages, and humiliation; and yet they rise. Most women know how to get up from failure and hurt after being knocked down by life’s circumstances.
My Mother’s Endurance
I learned to recognize personal strength by watching my mother who displayed an uncommon strength to fight through adversity and many disappointments. I have never seen my mother give up during financial distress or during periods of unemployment. While she was working at Western Electric and raising four active boys, she worked to find a better paying job. She did not even have a high school diploma; but she believed it was not going to stop her from providing for her four boys at the time. Later, she took a job at the U.S. Post Office and worked there until she retired.
A Life Lesson from my Mother
She instilled in us the little things that I see missing in today’s youth and in some adults. One day after I lost a bloody fight against a young boy, my mother threatened me that she would ware my tail (behind) out if I did not go back to school the following day and stand up against that boy. I had a new determination that this boy or any other boy will not beat me up the way this boy had. I have learned that when life pushes you, you push back harder. When your mother is tough like this, how could I expect to be any other way?
A Woman’s Value
Most men have learned some valuable lessons from their dads, but in most cases, men have gathered their strength from their mothers. The present age is experiencing a drop in the development of strong women. Young girls need real mentoring examples to connect and learn from because most of what they see today on television is nothing more than a façade. It is not about how much money you make or the career a woman may have that determines her worth. A person’s worth is in their birth. It is in the character of a person that exposes their standard and strength. A woman who refuses to compare herself to others will never compete. She knows who she is and she is comfortable in her own skin. She may have made mistakes early in life and no doubt will continue to make mistakes, but she gets up and pushes the reset button. Somehow, by the grace of God, her tenacity allows her to see those mistakes turned into miracles.