By Cynthia a. Bond Hopson, Ph.D.

My beautiful mother, Mrs. Alvis Marie Jones Bond, is my shero and I’m so
grateful that God blessed me with her. My great aunt, Emma Jones Bowles,
now rests with the angels but was absolutely a force to be reckoned with.
Between the two of them, my grandmothers, great-grandmother, aunts,
cousins, neighbors, other mothers—the women—all of them—they shared
their best selves with me, and the world and we are all the better for it.

As I reflect on this upcoming Mother’s Day, I feel a lot like Mrs. Potato Head,
the children’s toy with moveable and removable parts that you can place on
the base to create interesting new looks. Over the years the legacy they’ve
shared has been like a math problem—I’ve added, subtracted, multiplied, and
divided what I have watched and learned.

My mothers were stylishly dressed and never ever left home unless they were
beautifully presented. One of my last memories of my 87-year-old Aunt Velma
was the Christmas before she died, when she showed up for Christmas dinner
in red leather pants, a cute little matching fur jacket, and a 77-year-old “man-
friend” she called “Baby.”

I have never seen my sheroes “show out,” as my grandmother called
it—getting loud, using profanity, or in somebody’s face handling their
business. I am proud of the example they set and taught, and whether the
things I borrowed or incorporated were big or small, I realized that
somebody’s always watching, and like me, somebody will want to be like you.
Today I’m passing on some of the most important lessons I’ve learned and

Trust God. No matter how big or small the problem is, God can handle it if you
leave it in His hands.

Treat people the way you want to be treated. This simple lesson has taken me
literally around the world safely and I see its value in every place.
What’s done in the dark will come to light, or you must live with yourself, so
live a life of integrity and honor so you can stand tall.

It’s just nice to be nice, and kindness always matters. Share a smile—it doesn’t
hurt you, but it may be the only smile someone gets that day.
If you don’t know, ask, say so, or find out.

Work hard and have your own money; and time is money—take care of both.
Protect your good name—it is more valuable than gold.

You have two ears and one mouth so listen twice as much as you talk.
How you treat yourself is how others will treat you—cover all the ground
you’re standing on and stand for something.

If you have to tell someone you’re a lady, you’re probably not.
Buy a good lipstick and don’t leave your home without using it.
If you’re going, go all the way.

Start where you are and keep moving forward. You’re not who your past says
you are. You’re who you choose to be.

If you’re the problem, you’re probably the solution too.

This Mother’s Day, cherish the lessons and the women who have invested
themselves into us, our communities, schools, churches, nation, and world.
They made/make/are the difference, and they deserve our honor and praise.
Send/take a bouquet of flowers—almost everything’s in bloom and especially
lovely this time of the year. Make a donation in honor or memory of a special
woman, send a note, or make time for a visit. The time you spend will bless
you and be a happy memory in the days to come.