Our daughter Madelyn is my greatest reminder of the quality of her mother. Madelyn loves people well because those who are well loved, love well. Those who are taught kindness, display kindness to others. Those who are honorable, well-disciplined, creative, passionate and joyful often exhibit such behavior because of the influence of those who lead them well.

It’s common for us to say around our home that “Madelyn is just like her mom.” Usually it’s spoken when she does something silly or uses a word or phrase that is liken to the way that her mother speaks. But in so many more ways than her personality, she reminds me of her mother. And that might be the most beautiful thing about her.

There are a lot of things that make up a great mother. I believe the most valuable component is the faith that she carries. However, another glowing trait is her beautiful empathy.

How many times have you seen a good mother welcome her children in when they are hurting? Who is better at cuddling and whispering to a newborn? Who stands to defend the defenseless more completely than her?

I heard a quote from author Anne Lamott once that caused me to ponder. She said “I am all of the ages I have ever been.”

Upon thinking about this, my mind wanders to the character, empathy, compassion and kindness that we so often see from mothers.

Aware of the wisdom of their years. Keen to the trials that they have endured. Strong for the work that they’ve put forth. Playful for the memory of their youth. And all the while aware of the fast pace of life and it’s hurried uncertainty.

If I have been a leader, influencer or a positive reinforcement in anyone’s life, it is a credit to a mother who invested long hours in developing my character. And though I pursue constantly to lead my family well, the success of our children will be due to a mother who steps into their world, wherever they are and draws them in with a compassion that is beautifully unique to what she has experienced and who she has become.

And surely, her best days are ahead.