In Maya’s Words

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

June 29, 2023

I’ve recently devoured Maya Angelou’s book, Mom & Me & Mom. I say devoured because it took me one day. Reading Maya’s words made me realize all over again how much I adore that woman. I’m grateful I picked that particular book up on one of my trips to the Book Barn. I’ve read a couple of her other novels, but this one was a deep dive into her relationship with her mother. It made me think about my relationship with my children and the values I’d like to teach them.  

“See, you don’t have to think about doing the right thing. If you’re for the right thing, then you do it without thinking.” ― Maya Angelou

Doing the right thing may be an uphill battle. It may also feel at times that you are facing an unimaginable force working against you. But when you do the right thing, it just makes sense. That’s how we find our character. Have you ever told a lie? Of course, you have! You’re human. How did it feel? If you are not a mentally unwell individual, lying likely makes you feel gross. You may also have to keep telling lies to whomever will listen because you need to keep justifying the first.

Here’s another Maya quote, “Don’t do anything that you think is wrong. Just do what you think is right, and then be ready to back it up even with your life.”

Amen. That particular quote was from Mom & Me & Mom. It was advice given to her from her mother, advice she took very seriously throughout her life, advice I will pass down to my children as they get older. If you are doing the right thing, do it with gusto, do it with confidence, do it as if your life depended on it. It just might.

And lastly, I regularly say to my kids when they make a mistake, “It’s okay. I make mistakes all the time! That’s how I learn.” Some of my biggest mistakes in life taught me my greatest lessons. They made me stronger than I ever imagined. And they taught me how to live a better life. A life worth living. I want to end with one more Maya quote, my favorite one.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” -Maya Angelou

I’m doing better now than I was before. And I can’t wait to see how much better I’ll do in the years to come.