Lessons learned from moms

April 21, 2022

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What one (or two) thing(s)—of the probably many—have you learned from your mom? We posed the question to several women, and not surprisingly, their responses are filled with respect, admiration, love, and even some humor. How fortunate these women are to have had such strong role models…and how fortunate for us that they’ve shared their lessons…and words of wisdom.

Lorraine Fink

Joni Fink Burstein

I have the good fortune to still be learning from my mom, and the older I get, the more I recognize how unique and positive she is.

She always gives people the benefit of the doubt and is the most appreciative person I’ve ever met. She turns every little thing into an object of wonder, full of praise and excitement—and it is genuine. She was into gratitude long before it was “in.”

When I was a child, if I said Sally was mean to me, she would say, “Poor Sally—she must have been having a bad day.” She quickly shifted my self-pity or hurt feelings to considering Sally’s situation.

Trained as a bookkeeper, my mom has meticulous attention to detail and her standard is perfection. At the same time, she is a free-flowing artist and accepts and treasures everything just the way a person offers it. She inspires me to live up to her example and strike that balance. I am still trying!

With her wonderful sense of humor and positive and appreciative approach to life, the main thing I’ve learned is how lucky I am to have her as my mom.

Lisa Rosenbach

Andie Eichelbaum

There are many lessons I have learned from my mother throughout my 26 years of life. Out of all of them, resiliency has to be the most important.

My mom is one of the most resilient women I’ve ever met. Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress—such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors.

As much as resilience involves “bouncing back” from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth. Life can, and has been, difficult in so many different ways. At an age not much older than I am now, my mother lost her husband and had to figure out a way move forward while simultaneously raising three girls under the age of six. Not only did she do it, but she showed us firsthand what the process of self-growth truly looks like. I now strive for that same type of growth through resiliency in everything I do.

Joan London

Alicia Friedman

To pick one thing I have learned from my mom, I began reflecting and realized that so many of the qualities I like about myself are all attributed to my mom.

Identifying one life lesson I have learned from mom would have to be resiliency and grace. My mom’s life has been filled with so many amazing blessings and she will be the first one to tell you how grateful she feels for her lot in life. That being said, when adversity rears its head, Mom has picked up the pieces, shown strength and courage to move forward, and always looked for the silver lining.

Her positive outlook and discipline to not allow herself to go down a dark path is a beautiful quality and one I admire so much. Mom is a woman who loves hard and deeply and would do anything for her family.

I count my blessings everyday that Joan London is my Mom.

Grace Weinstein

Janet Mercadante

To my kids, I call them my WOWs (Words of Wisdom). My mom, Grace Weinstein (of blessed memory), had her own set of WOWs, some of which were stated, and others simply demonstrated by how she lived her life. All continue to resonate with me.

She used to say that she would never take the credit for how Larry and I turned out, because if she took the credit she would have to take the blame. She was teaching us to be humble.

My mom was an accomplished author who always worked from home. She showed me that it was possible to have a successful career, while at the same time being a hands-on mom. I have tried to emulate her success in both.

Mom battled breast cancer and ultimately lost the fight in 2012, but she lived 26 years after being given less than a 20% chance of living five. By example, she taught me to face life’s challenges with courage and optimism, to just keep moving forward, and to never accept an end date. Sorry, Mom, but I have to give you credit for that one!

Judy Anderson and Annabel Sacks

Micheline Anderson


When I was eight, my mother, Judy Anderson, began graduate school to become a physical therapist. It meant a change in routine, in role transitions for her. For me, it meant being told, “Mom can’t take us to practice or dance class” or “Mom has a big test, we need to let her be.” While I remember the disruption, what stuck with me was the doggedness with which she pursued her professional ambition while balancing the responsibilities of being a nurturing, caring mother.  Beyond the minor inconvenience, she taught me the value of being tenacious, of always being growth-oriented.

She came by this naturally. My grandmother, Annabel Sacks, was a master of reinventing herself. First, a naval officer’s wife, then a teacher, then a professor, then a community organizer and leader, and of course, a grandmother.

My mother and grandmother truly embody the eshet chayil, woman of valor.

As a psychologist, I work with women extricating themselves from their postpartum depression. Many times we assess values to motivate and create a life worth living. Inevitably, at least one value is derived from a desire to parent differently from one’s own mother. When I reflect on my own parenting values, I am fortunate they require no such negation or rejection. Rather, as I raise my daughter, I seek to emulate the pioneering spirit of my mother and grandmother and hope to continue this legacy of independent, fierce, and truly fabulous women.

Leslie Siegel

Megan Zuckerman and Shaye Arluk

Wow, our MOM! How do you put into words the most selfless, empathetic, strong woman we have ever met? Our mom is a powerhouse. She is a powerhouse of love, of dedication to her family, her friends, those who she meets who become fast friends due to her unwavering curiosity in everyone’s story, and to her many, many, many philanthropic causes she holds near and dear to her heart. She is a powerhouse of strength, holding true to the values she believes in and raising us to be strong independent women with our own convictions and voices.

So what has our mom taught us? She has taught us everything, but most importantly, she has taught us how to love fiercely and to be generous with our time and resources helping those we know and those we have never met, but are nonetheless in need.

Written with love for our mom, Leslie Siegel.

Letter to the Editor