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PARENTS are educators too!
12 simple secrets real moms know book cover

Excerpt from

12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know by Michele Borba, Ed.D

Real Mom's Secret 5

A Mother Who Teaches Values Inspires Character

What Real Mothers Know. Understand Your Family's Values So You Can Live Them

What Really Matters for Mothering. Be Intentional

The Real Benefit for Kids. Empathy, Strong Character, and a Moral Compass

The Lesson a Real Mother Teaches. Real moms know that kids must have a moral code to live by and that they will learn that code through you - but only if you are mindful of that code and live it yourself. Stick to what really matters for your family, Mom, stay true to your beliefs, and you will greatly increase your positive influence.

"She Prioritized Her Values so Her Family Could Have a Code to Live By"

Strong families have something that they believe in together. – Marilyn Perlyn

The story of Marilyn Perlyn's young daughter, Amanda, in The Biggest and Brightest Light: A True Story of the Heart inspired Michele Borba, internationally known author, to write a book to share 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know to raise happy, healthy kids. Read the excerpt to see how you can intentionally teach values to your children and apply them in your family life.





Amanda showed Marilyn the strength of their family's values through her compassion, empathy, selflessness, and willingness to give of herself and work hard to make good things happen for other people. It motivated Marilyn's mothering instinct to cultivate caring for others with her whole family.

I sat down with my family and said, "Look, Amanda, has just had this experience. She learned something that the rest of us didn't know. No matter how old you are, you're old enough to make a difference in someone else's life. I want you two boys to experience what Amanda has just taught all of us. And Daddy and I need to get involved helping others as well."

Marilyn and her husband decided to help each of their three children develop a project that was of personal interest to them and that helped fill a need in the community. Amanda's love of stuffed animals led her to a project called "To Have and To Have Hug," in which she collected and distributed thousands of new stuffed animals donated by various toy stores to hospitals, foster children, and abused and neglected kids. Eric, their athletic child, started a project he called Stepp'n Up, in which he solicited sneakers from shoe stores and has so far distributed more than fifteen thousand pairs to needy kids. Their oldest son, Chad, who aspired to be and is now a physician, started a project called Doc-Adopt, in which doctors and dentists adopted the medical or dental needs of an underprivileged child.

"Before all the reindeer, the funeral, and the essay contest, we had never really talked about what we stood for as a family and what we expected our kids to do about it. But my husband and I learned something from our six-year-old daughter about what is right and wrong as a parent. She showed us how things can cross your path sometimes, and you have to stop and choose which way you're going to go. We have to recognize those opportunities where we can help our kids use their own strengths, feelings, and skills to make a difference according to our family's values."

"The feeling that Amanda and the rest of us got from helping Dr. Malko's family was incredibly wonderful, so we decided that helping others was going to be a year-round priority in all our children's lives. Over the years our children have received many awards and much recognition for their service to the community. But nothing has made us happier than knowing how their characters have developed into the kind of caring young people who we are proud to say are our children."

What Real Moms Can Learn from This Story

The story of Marilyn and her children shows how important it is for a family not only to have values but to apply them. Marilyn and her husband hadn't really talked about their shared beliefs, hopes, and expectations for their children. They knew instinctively without saying that of course they wanted their children to have compassion and empathy, to be selfless and care for other people, but it wasn't until Amanda showed them how important it was to find a way to express these values, to be helpful to the teacher she loved in a moment of crisis, that Marilyn became intentional and developed the maternal secret of guiding her kids in expressing their family values.

Many moms tend to go in too many directions at once and struggle to take on every potential activity and opportunity for achievement. Instead of succumbing to that temptation, Marilyn focuses her family's energies and commitment on one major passion. And the outcome? Her approach not only produced greater results but also made their family life more manageable by not scattering their efforts and by bringing their family closer.

Amanda taught her family what a difference they could make - each of them. Marilyn and Don taught their children how to use their special feelings and unique skills to help other people and to fulfill their family's values. What happened to them ultimately was that these caring activities not only defined the purpose of their own lives but inspired other families as well. The Perlyn family, who now live in Boca Raton, received the R. David Thomas Child Advocate of the Year Award and an award from the Points of Light Foundation. Marilyn's children have appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and in books, magazines, and other media.

Of course, I'm not implying that your ultimate mothering goal should be to end up on Oprah or receiving accolades from the White House. But by identifying your family values and tuning in to what matters most and then sticking to it, you'll discover that you will have more quality time together and will be more likely to create a family of purpose. Here is how this secret can help you and your family:

Doing Good for Others
is a Happiness Booster

Marilyn Perlyn recognized that her daughter felt happier doing good deeds for others. It was a big reason why her purpose for her family was to become more charitable so that her sons could gain the same feelings of satisfaction as Amanda. Research supports Marilyn's gut feeling that performing acts of altruism or kindness boosts your happiness quotient.

Sonya Lyubomirsky, a psychologist at the University of California at riverside, found that people who do five kind acts a week, especially all in a single day, experience dramatically magnified feelings of happiness.

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The sole member of The Ocho Project, LLC is Stepp'n Up Shoes for Kids, Inc., a Florida not for profit corporation with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.