Why are we doctors or lawyers or other such professionals? We’re analytical and creative, persistent and interpersonal. Where did we get these skills? Look at what your mom has done to develop these skills from an early age through college. Most of us came of age when our mothers were encouraged to take an active role in our development and not just simply cook dinner and make sure we washed behind our ears. When you were just a toddler, she read books to you, played games with you and exposed you to your environment. My mom tells me that when she was younger, her preschool learning involved washing dishes and darning socks. Our moms, however, encouraged us to ask questions and they pressed us for answers. When interacting with relatives or family friends, my mom was taught to be still and to be quiet, while we were encouraged to listen and participate in conversations in a respectful manner. In short, she encouraged you to think.

Our mom’s expectations and values played an important role in our career decision. Studies show that moms' influence their childrens' career path more strongly than teachers, friends, and counselors. And why not? Family dynamics and parents’ input leave a lasting impression on children. The popularity of preschool increased dramatically in the 1970s and by the 1990s nearly half of all children attended a fulltime preschool program. Our moms were clearly aware of the importance of formal education. Plus, this increase was due in part to the fact that by this time many of our mothers worked outside the home. For some of us, we saw our mothers in high-powered jobs that were practically unavailable for their own mothers. For others, we saw our mothers employed as a means to make ends meet. In either case, we learned by our mother’s example that having career options was important.

Our mom also made sure we were kind and respectful of others, that we knew how to share, and that we knew right from wrong. As any business professional knows, these same abilities are used every day in working life. We assess the merits of a situation by analyzing the documents and talking with others. We know that listening is usually better than talking. And we know the importance of providing discrete, concrete advice. When you think about it, isn’t that precisely what mom was teaching us all along?

So, on this Mother’s Day, make sure you let your mom know that her hard work and dedication paid off.