My Child and the Future – A 1951 Essay

My Child and the Future

In May of 1951, Mary Catherine McDonough Rodgers, my Mother, submitted the following essay to radio station KSD in St. Louis Missouri. The contest was a city-wide competition that Mary Catherine won one month before her first son Phillip John was born. We are not sure exactly sure what Mary Catherine “won,” however, she won all our hearts forever!

IMAG2559Mary Catherine wishes that the words you are about to read are not just for Phillip John. These words are the hopes and vision Mary Catherine carries in her heart for you and each one of your children and hopefully and joyously for each one your treasured grandchildren.



My Child and the Future

The skeptic today offers, “Why children – what future do they have?”

By the very fact that there are children and that I am concerned about the future of my child, is assurance enough that life holds rich promise in the days ahead.

In the routine of performing the mechanics of living, feeding and clothing, growing little bodies I am apt to forget the inner child that daily matures at my side.

One day I as a parent will abruptly realize that this human being is a product of my very life. It is important that I take time out to decide just what my responsibility is to our child. With the weighty thought of this obligation comes to mind the familiar quotation: “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle…Rules the World.”

What do I sincerely want for my child?
How can I best prepare him for the business of living?
Riches, success, esteem in the world…are these goals the top priorities for my child?

Daily, wealthy men take their own lives, revered men lose favor with a fickle world and professional men abuse their highly specialized and costly education. These then are clearly not my answer. Who could dictate the future of a child?

Rather I would hope I could instill in my child concrete stepping stones or guideposts to direct him along any path of life he may choose. These would be fundamental concepts that would serve as a basis for wise decisions toward a happy and purposeful life.

The seriousness of living, the joy and inner satisfaction of accomplishment are fruits of knowledge that will give substance to his existence. I would hope to establish an atmosphere of good living in his own home as a standard of his comparison of people he will encounter throughout his life.

Essentially, I must teach him to be honest with himself and make his greatest judgment a strict accounting to himself. The mental, physical and the spiritual must be coordinated to form the complete man. In an ever changing, unstable world, these principles will remain constant.

Then when logic in a chaotic world has a hallow ring, when reason and counsel seem futile, I must teach him to pray.

How else could I encourage his reach… exceed his grasp?

With God’s help, I will instill in my child these intangible qualities found so necessary but often lacking in his all too human parents. These profound truths will be the unseen hand that will guide my child to his future….full….with his highest potential and promise.

Mary Catherine Rodgers – 1951

(My thanks to my brother, Mark Rodgers, for transcribing and posting Mom’s essay.)

Why do I write? And other questions in a Blog Hop

My author cohort Becky Blades invited me to join her Blog Hop, which she describes as, “like passing the microphone around the room at a song write, with aspects of a chain letter.” Love it!

This Blog Hop features some meaty questions about the writing process, and gives me the chance pass the mic to two of my favorite bloggers. Here goes:

What am I working on?

Everyday Inspired is the title and theme of my blogcast and next book. When complete, Everyday Inspired will be a collection of short, timely, daily reflections to help people slow down and pay attention to life. Plus, I am a regular contributor to the Huffington Post blog.

Why do I write what I do?

Our lives are rich in meaning, but we’re often too distracted to notice. I love finding inspiration in the ordinary.  I hope my work will help people make similar connections in their own lives.

Writing helps me stay sane. It helps me sort out my life, and reminds me of who I am and what’s important. Yet, as Dorothy Parker said, some days “I hate writing, I love having written.” Launching a finished piece is one of the best feelings in the world.

How does my writing differ from others of its genre?

My writing is a mix of insight and humor, all discovered in stories from life, movies, scripture, music—wherever the inspiration pops up. My writing addresses issues of faith and spirituality in ways that are accessible and relatable to people’s experience, and is never “churchy.”

How does my writing process work?

Morning Pages are essential to my creative process. I discovered the value of Morning Pages in the multiple times I’ve worked the exercises in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The pages clear the clutter in my brain and help focus my ideas into what Anne Lamott calls a “shitty first draft.” That draft is written longhand, blue ink pen on a composition notebook page or legal pad. Then I transfer the draft to Word on my computer. I find it very difficult to write my first draft at the keyboard, and prefer the freedom paper and pen give me to sit with ideas and allow the language and imagery to emerge. My daily goal is to write 500 – 1,000 words, and I’ve blocked out two-hour sessions at least three days a week to write this way. I also carry a notebook with me to jot down the spontaneous moment of inspiration. I turn to these gems when my ideas run dry!

Please visit these great, creative writers who have inspired me! They’ll post their answers to these questions next week.

Bob Arches Square 3Bob Baker helps musicians, authors and creative entrepreneurs use their talents and know-how to make a living and make a difference in the world. He is the author of the highly acclaimed “Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook” (which appeared in the movie “The School of Rock”). CD Baby called him “The Godfather of Independent Music Marketing.” Bob’s other books include The DIY Career Manifesto, The Guerrilla Guide to Book Marketing, Guerrilla Music Marketing Online, Unleash the Artist Within, and more. Learn more at


beth turq scarf high resElizabeth Irvine is an educator, award-winning author and jewelry creator. Elizabeth’s philosophy and teachings are based on twenty-five years’ experience as a health care professional and through her yogic style of living. During this time she gained a reflective insight into what truewellbeing really means.

Based on principles she has learned and developed as an ICU nurse, health writer, yoga instructor, and as a mother of three, Elizabeth teaches from experience. Taken holistically, this path provided a foundation for her work today.

Irvine’s books, Healthy Mother Healthy Child and A Moment’s Peace provide women and families with a calming and healing influence and a simple guide for bringing peace and serenity into the home.

Click here to read Becky’s delightful answers to these writing questions on her blog.

bbheadshot (2)Becky Blades is a writer, artist, business strategist and philosopher of creative, adventurous living. Her first book, Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone, Advice Your Mom Would Give if She Thought You Were Listening, was released on April 1, 2014. It has received a Kirkus Starred Review and the critical acclaim of discriminating bloggers.

Since selling her award-winning public relations firm in 2003, Becky has served on corporate boards, as a civic advocate for the arts and entrepreneurship, and as a consultant and mentor to businesses.

Her blog, explores the art of beginning, from entrepreneurship to works of art. And she blogs about her book at


Mothers Creed

My friend Patty Cook offers these words of wisdom for moms: 

I am a late-blooming step-mom. After rising from the ashes of a career burnout, I found myself falling into the same old traps when children came into my life. Use these guidelines to strengthen your ability to thrive – as a mother, as a woman.

To have the life I want, I will:
MODEL the behavior I want to see
Gandhi said it best when he said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” So if you want respect, respect. If you want understanding, understand. If you want happiness, be happy. And if you want your children to grow up to love and nurture themselves…

ORIENT my life around my values
Stress happens when you stray from your core values. The further you stray, the more stressful it is for you. Identify those values that are key to your happiness, learn to notice quickly when you are misaligned, and use a variety of tools and techniques to bring yourself back to center.

TAKE CARE of myself
When your needs are being met, it takes the pressure off of others to meet them, and life gets easier. Whether you need to be accepted, acknowledged, cared for, needed, safe, free, etc., honor that need and start getting it met so it stops driving all your actions and your very best self can emerge.

You don’t have to be a martyr, suffering and sacrificing yourself, to be an extraordinary wife and mother. In fact, giving yourself away until you are exhausted and depleted is not a badge of honor. It leads to unhappiness and poor health, and sends the wrong message to your children. We train people how to treat us, and this includes our family. Does yours need retraining? Start now and help them help you be the Mom you want to be.

Here are 10 ways you can energize yourself every day: You can build your self-care skills, your De-Stress NOW skills, clarify your vision, and build communication and decision-making skills. And, you can let go of tolerations, attachments, resistance, taking things personally, and the need to be right. Choose one and focus on it for a week at a time, or choose a different one every day to explore. Either way is perfect – each is a major energizer and whatever attention you bring to it will make a positive difference.

REST when I am tired
Animals and kids rest when they are tired, naturally. Why don’t you? Even a few minutes can make a world of difference in the quality of your life, so make carving out time to rest, relax and rejuvenate a priority. And help others help you do it!

SAY IT so it can be heard
When you speak directly, with kindness, respect and a willingness to listen and understand, your message can get through. Thinking it isn’t saying it. Yelling it can’t be truly heard. Neither can blaming, shaming or justifying. Make your requests out loud – the people you love really do want to please you, but they aren’t mind-readers. And be sure to sing praises out loud and often, too. Both will deepen your connection – to yourself and to them.

Patty Cook is an Executive Life Coach and founder of Life by Design, which she founded in 2000. Now celebrating over 11 years of victory over breast cancer, Patty has experienced first-hand how quickly and radically life can change its course, and is committed to supporting people in living like there’s no tomorrow, today. She walked away after 18 years from a highly successful construction career she absolutely loved because she didn’t know how to deal with the stress of it. Since 1992, she has dedicated her life to helping people do what they love to do, and are good at, without paying such a high price for their success.


Off to College

My dear friend Renee is facing her first born headed off to college.  Here are some of her thoughts, in her own words.  Dear reader, can you relate?:

My oldest daughter has been talking about how much she wants to leave home since she was in the third grade.  She is both blessed and cursed with her mother’s sense of independence and stubbornness, so it has never been shocking to hear her say how she can’t wait to live on her own terms. 

Years fly by and now I have only 8 more days to teach my daughter everything I want her to know (despite her resistance) before I leave her in a dorm room 250 miles away from home.

I have been so excited about her leaving because I know she is SO ready and eager.  I know some of the best years of her life (to date) are waiting just a week away for her.  I’m thrilled for her to start this next exciting and challenging chapter in her life.  Only today did I give any pause to how it feels to ME about her leaving. 

It is hard to reconcile the feelings of having been responsible for her every moment for the last 18 years and then, BOOM, all in one day she’s completely out of my sight. That finely honed sonar that we mothers have faithfully kept alert every single day of her life must somehow, quickly, carefully be turned down to a allow her to grow into an independent adult.  I’m new at this and not sure how it works.  But, I am sure that it is better for all if I don’t roll around in thoughts about her leaving home too much for the next 8 days.  If the Mother-Antelope appears weak, the Daughter-Tiger may attack it!

Looking ahead I know I’m entering the ranks of mothers who wish their child will call them.  Silently worrying, hoping for the best, and secretly delighted to learn that she misses me – this is my future.  Eighteen years ago I brought a tiny baby home from the hospital and now a beautiful woman is eager to leave in 8 more days.

Renee Bauer Soffer