What Real Moms Can Learn from This Story

Bonnie Englund is an extraordinary mother, but, knowing her, when she reads this she'll probably say, "No, I'm not. It was Max. He was our gift from God." I can't disagree, but nevertheless we can all learn something from how she and her husband raised their son.

Max was born with special needs that gave him only eleven short years of life. But his parents accepted his weaknesses and made sure that they never got in the way of his potential for friendship, fun, education, activities, joy, humor, human love and acceptance, warmth and connection. Max was a well-adjusted child who truly fulfilled his potential as much as possible.

Not all of our kids have special needs, but certainly all of them have weaknesses. And it's our role as moms to accept our kids' inherent shortcomings, acknowledge what can and can't be changed, then support their resilience in fulfilling their many strengths. Too many mothers react to the human reality of their children—which always includes something they're not good at—by overreacting and mounting a campaign against every single potential weakness. What they must come to grips with is the plain and simple truth that there are some things we can change and some things we cannot. A key secret of a real mother is that she focuses on her children's strengths and accepts their weaknesses. Heaven knows we all have them.

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