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Sheri Dew: The Influence of Mothers

By Sheri Dew

Published: Sunday, May 8 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Truth #5: Mothers have more influence than they realize.

Women are the leaders of leaders. Who has more influence on a man than his wife? Or on children than their mother? The word that best describes leadership by a woman is mother. Is there any influence more enduring than a mother's shepherding of her children along the path towards exaltation?

One of my sisters just finished chemotherapy. Two days after her final treatment, while still battling nausea, she insisted on running a 5k with her two daughters and son-in-law. I thought she was crazy, but she not only ran the race but won a medal in her age category. (We like to tell her it's because there wasn't anyone else in her age category.)

Within hours, both daughters had posted Facebook tributes to their mother. Imagine what she taught them that day about courage and about running the race of life.

Mothers are always teaching, often in simple ways. As a youth, it was not uncommon for Mother to wake me in the middle of the night and say, "Sheri, take your pillow and go downstairs."

We lived in Kansas, in "tornado alley" (think Dorothy and Oz), and that meant a tornado was nearby. It was scary, but mother always calmly reassured me, "Everything will be okay."

I learned early to listen for her voice. To this day, when the pressure becomes too intense, I call home to hear mother say, "Everything will be okay."

After 9/11, First Lady Laura Bush described something similar: "I called my own children immediately to reassure them," she said, "and then I called my own mother, just for the comfort of her voice." (WashingonPost.com, 21 September 2001)

A mother's voice is unlike any other because a mother's influence is endless.

On this Mother's Day, I pay tribute to my mother and to the other "mothers" in my life whose collective influence has been life-altering. And I thank Heavenly Father for giving his daughters the most ennobling gift of all: the privilege of motherhood.

Sheri Dew is the President and CEO of Deseret Book Company, a member of the Deseret News Editorial Advisory Board, and the author of "Are We Not All Mothers."

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