Never Give Up On People
I don't think anyone ever had the nerve to ask her "how she felt" about my work. She was a woman of strong opinions.
Anyway, I think that who we are almost always reflects some aspect of how we were-or were not-parented. For better or for worse. Look at the experiences of so many of our clients. And one thing my mom taught us was that you help the less fortunate. We were super-poor when I was growing up-I am the sixth of seven children. We grew up in rural Michigan in the "Recession"-locally known as the Second Coming of the Great Depression. But if someone needed a ride, my mom went to pick them up. If someone needed a couple bucks for gas, she'd dig change out of her enormous purse. If a family needed food, she'd give them part of whatever we had.
At her funeral, one of my eight million cousins got up to speak. When he was born, the birth was complicated, and he ended up with a traumatic brain injury. Then with uncontrolled seizures, and in special ed in an era when special ed services weren't so great. And he said, "Aunt Verlaine never gave up on me. When people told me I was stupid, she said, "You are not" and she'd help me with my reading. When people told me I'd never amount to anything, she said, "Yes, you will." And I did."
So I would like to think that is one message I took away from my mom. Don't give up on people.