Accessibility links

New Book Explores Significance of Mothers’ Advice - 2004-05-07


With everyday advice like ?Put on a sweater, it's cold outside? to life-changing concepts like ?A person can be imprisoned, but his idea cannot,? mothers influence our lives. Their insights and words of wisdom are passed on from one generation to another. Writer and Buddhist-trained philosopher Taro Gold has collected a year's worth of uplifting and thought-provoking quotations from both Eastern and Western moms, just in time for Mother's Day.

Taro Gold has always been fascinated with quotations of wisdom. In the journal his mother gave him each New Year's Day, he used to write down meaningful thoughts and quotes that came his way, from his readings or through his teachers and mother. From this treasure trove of wisdom, he selected 365 of his favorite quotations for The Tao of Mom: The Wisdom of Mothers From East to West.

"'Tao' is a Chinese word that means 'way' or 'path,'? he explained. ?It also implies teachings or wisdom and really, that's why I choose it for this book, because our mothers are our first teachers."

Taro Gold spent much of his childhood in East Asia and the intersection of East and West is a prevalent theme in all his works.

"Before I was born my parents liked to travel all around the world and my grandparents as well,? he said. ?Fortunately for me, after I came along they kept right on going and they took me along with them. I loved every country we visited around the world, but I was fascinated by the Eastern philosophies because they seemed to me to be very common sense and very easily applicable to any background, culture or religion."

The women quoted in his latest book come from east and west and include the famous, like Nobel prize winner Marie Curie and human rights advocate Coretta Scott King, as well as the not-so-well-known, like a cousin of the Buddah and Mr. Gold's grandmother.

The author especially likes a quotation from former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, "A person can be imprisoned, but his idea cannot. A person can be exiled but his idea cannot. A person can be killed, but his idea cannot."

"If you share your ideas of truth, peace and justice, there's no way that anyone can defeat those,? Mr. Gold said. ?Because even if they do something to you personally, as they tried to do to her and other great women who stood up for peace and justice in her part of the world and all around the world, that idea will spread beyond all obstacles and keep on living no matter what."

The philosophy of Mother Teresa, who dedicated her life to helping the needy, is also represented in The Tao of Mom.

"My favorite Mother Teresa quote is, 'Never let anyone come to you without leaving better off,'? he read. ?That's really the spirit of compassion that embodied her entire existence and that touches me profoundly. The flip side of that of course is that when we selflessly give and open ourselves up with that kind of complete compassion, we actually gain as much or more than the person we're helping does. I think she was the perfect example of that."

Mr. Gold said that for him, the most memorable quotes are the ones he heard while growing up in East Asia.

"There's that one that was given to me personally in a conversation I had with a lady named Kaneko Ikeda in Japan,? he recalled. ?When I was a teenager, I was like all teenagers, going through all different problems and having trouble trying to fit into different groups and such. She looked me straight in the eye and said, 'It's really difficult to find happiness inside of yourself, but it's impossible to find it outside of yourself.' I've held that quote close to my heart for all these years since and it helped me profoundly."

Among the 140 women quoted in The Tao of Mom are some who didn't raise children of their own, yet influenced a generation.

"One of my favorite quotes in the Tao of Mom comes from Oprah Winfrey, who isn't a mother herself,? he added. ?She said, 'The least requirement for being a mother is actually having children.' I really believe that, because the spirit of motherhood is really the spirit of teaching, of selfless giving, of bettering other people and making world a better place for everyone around you. To me, that's the real definition of motherhood, whether you actually have your own children or not." Mr. Gold said that it was impossible to complete his work without including quotes from his mother, Carol Holladay.

"When I saw the book, I just cried,? she said. ?There are some favorite [quotes] of mine that I really didn't know he ever paid attention to, let along remembered. Like this one quote, 'even the most capable one was once a beginner.' I used always to say that. There's another one, 'If you weren't happy without it, you wouldn't be happy with it.' That has always been one of my favorites and I noticed he put that in there."

Ms. Holladay considers it an honor to be included in The Tao of Mom along with other great women throughout history. She said that it was the best Mother's Day gift her son has ever given her.

XS
SM
MD
LG