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Teaching Kids Perseverance

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Michelle Kemper Brownlow: Society tells us that stay-at-home moms have the "luxury" of not working (because having puke running down your back and poop in your hair are "luxuries"). Being a mom is an amazingly rewarding job, but can I really be expected to only do that?

Teaching kids perseverance
Five years ago, I wrote my first picture book. I had no idea what I was doing. And five years and a whole slew of writing classes and critique groups later, I still have nothing published. Did I quit? No. Why? Because my father taught me "Kempers don't quit" -- and I want to pass that on.

My children have watched me open almost one hundred and fifty rejection letters for about fifteen books I have submitted over the last five years. One time my son asked me, "Mommy, why don't you cry when you get these letters from people who don't want your stories?" I told him that every "no" meant that I was that much closer to a "yes." His eyes twinkled. 

My writing and illustrating doesn't take me away from my kids. Of course I enjoy a couple of nights out alone here and there, so I can write. I go to conferences that make me better at what I am passionate about. But my children and my husband are with me all the way. I come home and they squeal (the kids, not my husband) when I tell them I sat on the couch and chatted with Judy Schachner, author of the "Skippyjon Jones" series, about one of my stories. 

When it comes to dreams, we should do what we can to live them. Our children are watching. I want to be an inspiration for my children. If I never have a single book published but they learn perseverance, I will be happy. If I just "mommed" and did nothing else, who would that be good for? In trying to live my other dream, I give my kids a visual of what perseverance is all about. They have never felt second fiddle. They know they are my biggest dream. 

When my first book is published, it will be my kids that I am most thrilled to tell -- not those other moms. Follow your dreams! Let nothing stop you!

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous September 6, 2010, 2:39 PM

Thanks for the inspiration. Another Mother for Writing.

MartiniMama September 6, 2010, 2:55 PM

Good luck! You are an awesome example for your kids!!!! I hope when your book is finally published, you will post a big “HURRAY!” post here so that we all know! :)

Michele Cervone Scott September 8, 2010, 10:41 AM

Very well said, Michelle, from one writer to another. Some moms abandon their families for their dreams, and some abandon their dreams for their families. But I think you can nurture both successfully. Check out where we’re hosting an online book club for “Becoming a Mother on Fire: A Guide to Being a Mom Without Losing Yourself” by Lisa Garber.

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