Decades ago, no one could have predicted it would be possible for a kid in a working-class textile town, living with his sister and two brothers in a single-parent household that his mom struggled to keep financially afloat, to one day rise to the ranks of the U.S. Senate and then to head the foremost conservative policy institute in our nation’s capital. But it happened. That kid was me, and it was my mom’s example of love, tenacity and high expectations that allowed that to happen.
Determined to sustain our household but also to be present to provide the care and guidance that each of her children needed, my innovative mom launched a ballroom dancing business, and her customers came to our home for lessons. By example and through her expectations of each of us, my mother showed us the importance of work and personal responsibility.
My mother worked all the time but also expected my siblings and me to do our share. So each day, we’d get up at 6 a.m to find our personal list of duties for the day. It was clearly not an option to pass the time without doing something constructive. As we each pulled our weight, the more we did, the more we felt we could do and the more confidence we gained.
I was fortunate that, through the years, opportunities opened up for me along the way. But it was the training and example of my mom and the values that she instilled in us that guided me to realize the potential of those opportunities at each step of my life’s journey.
I always have been grateful for the sacrifices my mother made and the effort she invested to equip each of us with a vision and determination to make the most of what we had. This Sunday, especially, I will hold in my heart and thoughts the loving example that has lasted a lifetime.