The impact of mothers is amazing. They carry us for months, painfully deliver us into the world, love us at all costs, bear countless burdens for us, believe in us and send us on our own journey. What a gift moms are.
In 1938, when he was 14, President George H. W. Bush’s mother gave him words of wisdom to live by. He wrote them in the cover of his Bible:
I would be true, for there are those who trust me.
I would be pure, for there are those who care.
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer.
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.
I would be a friend to all, to the foe, and to the friendless.
I would be giving, and forget the gift.
I would be humble, for I know my weaknesses.
I would look up, and laugh, and love and lift.
Timeless words of wisdom from a mother.
My mom gave my siblings and me countless words of wisdom throughout her lifetime, but the phrase that comes to mind most quickly is a fairly humorous one I heard for years: “Beat Gonzales!” That was Mom’s well-meaning, yet mispronounced, encouragement to beat the completely-out-of-reach, world class and future record-setting Olympian swimmer, John Kinsella, in a high school swim meet. Those were the last words my mom would say to me before just about every swim meet thereafter, regardless who I was competing against. Over time they took on a much larger meaning: “I’m with you! I believe in you!”
Decades later, during a swimming competition at Stanford University in 2009, my impish wife, son and a couple of friendly cheerleaders, revived those significant words for me. (Unbelievably, one of the official timers for that race actually knew who Kinsella was; she dated him in college!)
I’ll never forget Mom’s encouragement. What advice did your mom give you that you’ll never forget?
My greatest joy in life is my family. I know, that sounds like the comment you’re supposed to make as a man and father. All I can say is I literally shake my head in wonder at the family I have: my wife Beryl; my daughter Barclay and son-in-law Vince, their four daughters, Bella, Brynn, Brooke and Blake; my son Alec, my son Conor and daughter-in-law Bonnie, and their daughter Gemma. Every one of them is a genuine gift. Beyond that, I have a calling that I live out through Peregrine Ministries. It is to help men: Understand their identity in Christ, Embrace their role as men, and Live out their God-given calling in life. Bottom line is I’m convinced men matter and I want to help them live life on purpose.