My mom told me a story once about why she had five children. "Some people had an opinion after I had two (a girl and a boy). 'Shouldn't that be good enough?' they said, and couldn't believe my arrogance when I told them I planned to have lots more," she told me.
"They said, not kidding, 'How dare you have more kids when there are already too many people in the world?' I made it simple: I told them that tomorrow's society was going to need leaders and my kids were going to be those leaders for their kids."
This is the same woman who, when people asked her what she planned to name her kids, replied, "Well, if it's a girl we were thinking Whitney Wanda DeWhitt, and if it's a boy, probably Dwayne Dwight DeWhitt."
The point is, it was none of their business either how many children she had or what she chose to name them.
I'm not here to argue that our society gets in each other's faces too much when it comes to parenting; I stand with the best of them in having an opinion and not always calling up the self-discipline to keep my trap shut.
However, I do stand firm in my desire to have lots of children. Because you know what? She was right.
Her offspring, in a large capacity or a small one, are leaders in their communities. One or two of them may even change the world on a grand scale.
Why? Because she knew from the beginning the kind of sacrifice and example it would take to mold each of these very unique individuals into the the best human being he or she could be.
I want to be that kind of parent. I want my children to see me humble myself when I'm in the wrong, follow through on my promises, do the right thing even when it hurts, hold fast to my faith when everything falls apart, and choose love when no love is shown to me.
My mother isn't a saint. She has failed plenty in life by a lot of people's standards. But there is no other mom I would choose to emulate.
She is one of those quiet successes whose friends from college look at her and think, "Yeah, she knew what she was doing as a parent; why didn't we follow her lead?"
Look, I don't have some scheme to compare myself to friends in 25 years and see whose kids turned out the best. Every life must speak for itself.
But I want to look at my life then and be proud of the job I've done. As I build habits into my new role as a mother, I want to remember the watchwords I saw so evidently in my own mother: commitment, consistency, patience, humility, faith and love.
she knew what she was doing as a parent