Much of our speaking and presenting these days is to business and corporate leaders, and a common sentiment among them is the hope that one or more of their children will carry on their work or take over their companies.
Some of our audiences come primarily from multi-generational family businesses, where the desire is particularly strong to be able to pass the torch and have a son or daughter take over one day.
We were thinking about that as we flew home from such a group the other day, and considering the fact that our own family business is families. Most of our writing and speaking and Internet work for the last couple of decades has focused on strengthening families, and we were happily reflecting on how several of our children are carrying on that “business.”
Our mission statement is “Fortify families by celebrating commitment, popularizing parenting, validating values and bolstering balance,” and it is remarkable how gracefully our oldest two daughters have grabbed that baton and how fast they are running with it.
At the risk of, or maybe in the hope of embarrassing them a bit, we want to pay tribute to those two daughters and to how their recent work with families has eclipsed anything we have ever done.
Saren and Shawni might seem opposites in many ways; one is a blonde who was born in mid-summer, the other a brunette born in mid-winter. But then the parallels begin: Both went to Boston for college; both studied abroad in Jerusalem; both served as LDS missionaries in Eastern Europe (leaving the same day for Bulgaria and Romania); both married fabulous guys who also came from families with nine kids; both now have five children of their own; and both have found truly awesome ways to build and strengthen families throughout the world.
Saren is the co-founder, with her great partner April, of PowerofMoms.com, a professional development organization unlike any other, that reaches tens of thousands of women and assists in their growth as individuals and as mothers. From seminars and conferences to podcasts, webinars, “learning circles” and values-based education, PowerofMoms, or POM, treats motherhood as what it is — the most important career in the world. Like any other professionals in any profession, moms need mentors and peer-stimulation in everything from management and organization to the skills and techniques of child-care and self-care.
POM holds one- and two-day retreats throughout the world and has recently published its first book, but its flagship is the PowerofMoms.com website, which puts moms in touch with each other and offers a plethora of programs, ideas and insights, as well as a constantly available connection to other moms in other places struggling with the same challenges.
Shawni is the publisher of 71toes.com, a “mommy blog” that has a million hits each month. Women are drawn to the blog because it is not sugar-coated, but real and down-to-earth — starting with its name, which comes from the fact that their fifth child had an extra toe that, until it was removed, brought the family total to 71.
Sometimes getting hundreds of comments on her almost daily posts, Shawni, who was named National Young Mother of the Year by the American Mothers Association, sees the blog as a place of gathering and dialogue where other moms from everywhere can gather, brainstorm, get ideas and commiserate.
We love what these two daughters are doing and the broad scale on which they are doing it, but you know what is the best thing of all? It is what great mothers they are to their own kids — who just happen to be our grandkids.
Richard and Linda Eyre are New York Times best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Visit them anytime at www.EyresFreeBooks.com or www.valuesparenting.com. Their latest Deseret e-book is “On the Homefront."