2006 Saffia Meek - Lewisvile, Texas
2006 Words of Women Essay of the Year
The woman who has had the most influence on who I am today is my mom. Though like most people, I tried to not be like my parents, I discovered that I am very much like them anyway. We are not identical. In fact, we express our belief in God through different religions. But she has impacted my character and the choices Iíve made in many ways.
Her motto has always been moderation. She continuously reminded my brother and me to follow the middle path; to not become rigid on either side of an issue. This teaching of moderation flowed into every facet of our lives whether it was our choice of clothing, college, and cars or how we made decisions and how we dealt with difficulties.
She always tried to maintain balance in our lives. We worked on studies during the school year and relaxed during the summer. If we wanted something that was out of our reach, she offered a compromise. She didnít really so no to us, but rather taught us where our limits were and let us make our own choices.
My motherís teaching of moderation is my mantra to this day. And one that I am so grateful she instilled in me. It has guided me to buy only what I really need and can afford and has helped me recognize the value of keeping a balance in oneís perspective. This teaching of moderation is one of the characteristics of Islam that made the religion so attractive to me.
My mom always taught the value of education and she modeled this herself. She earned her Masterís degree in Education, taught elementary school for 30 years, gained certificates in school administration and teacher evaluation, worked as a summer school principal, and developed class curricula. She loved teaching so much that she named me after two little girls that were in her class the year she was expecting me.
There was never a moment when I wasnít expected to go to college after high school and she was so worried about me when I decided to get married my junior year in college. She was afraid that I wouldnít continue my education and finish my degree; also in Education. As it turned out, to her relief, I was a better student after marriage.
My mom is a ďNervous NellyĒ by nature but when she needs courage, sheís got it. I remember once when I was young, we had an opportunity to fly in a small plane. My mother was so terrified that she screamed in my ear when the plane tilted to make a turn. However, many years later while I was living in Nebraska, she decided to fly up for a visit. When she arrived she told me her fingers were dug into the arms of the seat, but she conquered her deep fear of flying to see me. Remembering that show of courage gives me strength in my times of fear. If she can do it, so can I.
These and other characteristics that I obtained from her I will always cherish. They have guided me to where and who I am today.
So, despite that I have spent more time with other women in my adulthood, my mom is the one woman who has had the largest impact on my character. She is still the most influential woman in my life.
Saffia Meek, WiseWoman - Lewisville, Texas