Losing poet, activist and Phenomenal Woman Maya Angelou this week struck a personal chord with me. Maya Angelou’s death, while not shocking, was jarring just the same. Many of my journalist friends posted photos and recollections of getting to meet her and interviewing her, and how she really was larger than life in person. I never had such an honor, but I knew Maya Angelou just the same. I always cherished the quotes from Maya Angelou the most.
Her words brought me through my angst-riddled teenage years and the “what will I do next?” phase of college. Reading the pages of her “Letters to My Daughter” brought me comfort on the lonely nights when, as a single pregnant mother, I held the book in one hand, and placed the other on my growing belly.
When reading Maya Angelou, one got the sense that no task was too difficult – no challenge too great — to overcome. Her words will live on long past her final breath on this earth and are sure to bring more generations the strength, courage and fortitude they have already brought to millions.
The themes of Maya Angelou’s poetry were universal in many ways, and like other great literary works, transcend their intended purpose to apply to many situations. While she was a parent to one son, she did not label herself as a “mommy writer” or “parenting poet” or any of the niche areas that we (this blog included) tend to cling to today. She was not one person, or entity, or writer.
Still, since becoming a parent I have found even more power and inspiration in her words.
So while these words may not have been written directly to parents, here are my Top 10 picks for quotes from Maya Angelou that apply to the task of parenting:
Parenting quotes from maya angelou
On work-life balance: “I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.”
On teaching acceptance: “It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”
On it taking “a village” to raise children: “Alone, all alone, Nobody, but nobody can make it out here alone.”
On setting a good example for our kids: “Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold, but so does a hard-boiled egg.”
On social consciousness: “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”
On honoring our family histories: “No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place.”
On braving the tough days of parenting: “Some think that love is all flowers and good times, but I think that love is more than just that. Love is the bad, as well as the better, not lived alone, but a journey together. Something that only the closest can share, with communication, respect.”
On cultivating our individual passions: “Pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”
On life’s sometimes difficult transitions: “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
On unconditional love: “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination, full of hope.”
Do you have a favorite quote of Maya Angelou to add?
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