Tia Y. Teasley
Original Source: OWN Network
"I thought, suppose she was right...Suppose I am going to be somebody...She freed me to say that I may have something in me that will be of value; maybe not just to me...that's love.."
This video tells us how powerful our words are and the things that we speak over our lives and others. The Legendary Maya Angelou speaks so highly of her mother and the words that her mother spoke into her life. In 2016, I remember calling my mom to tell her that I was quitting my management job of 7.5 years to become a full-time entrepreneur. I recall her briefly pausing and then proceeded to ask, "Did you pray about it?" and "Have you saved?". I excitedly answered, "Yes ma'am!" Then, she softly said, "Tia, you have prayed and God has given you an answer. I know that you will be successful. I know that you can do it. I am so proud of you." I do not believe that my mother knew how much those words meant to me. Her words of assurance was exactly what I needed to push me through the hardship of entrepreneurship during my first year. My Aunt later told me that my mom admitted her fear but she never admitted it to me. I constantly remind myself of how blessed I was to have been loved by such a loving woman. Now, the same love, I share with my mentees, my sisterhood and my family. She liberated me.
This is a message for the mothers, mentors, mother figures and future mothers. Our dependents may not always make the "best" decisions according to how "we believe" they should. Yet, we have to reinforce nature vs. nurture. We naturally have the responsibility to cultivate and motivate our children to reach their full potential. Lets evaluate the flight of a bird where the main motivation for the little birdie is food. In the beginning, the mother bird drops food into its baby's mouth. Eventually, the mother steps farther away from the nest to encourage the baby bird to step out of the nest and perhaps onto the tree limb. The baby bird with gradually step onto the limb because it's main motivation is food so that it may survive. Regardless if the baby bird falls to the ground, it will gradually begin to spread it's wings and strengthen it's muscles to try to fly. With practice and repetition, the baby bird will use his wings more to get food regardless if he has fallen a few times. Eventually, it's repetition will create a habit that leads to flight which all stemmed from positive reinforcement from mother bird.
Let's build up our young queens. Encourage them that even when they fail, they are still enough. With love, show them how to survive the storm and then give them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. "I told you so" is not positive reinforcement. Plant the seeds of motivation and tell them that they are capable. Liberate them.