News / USA

New Yorkers Share Mom’s Wisdom

New York subway musician Christopher Campbell thanks his mother for the gift of a spiritual life. (VOA/A. Phillips)
New York subway musician Christopher Campbell thanks his mother for the gift of a spiritual life. (VOA/A. Phillips)
Adam Phillips
Sunday, May 12 is Mother's Day in America. It's traditionally a day for appreciating the ways our moms have nurtured us and tried to give us a good start on life’s path. 

Every day, New York subway commuters are treated to the soulful sounds of Christopher Campbell singing and playing his battery-powered organ for spare change and a smile. Campbell himself says he is a happy fellow, thanks largely to his mom.  
 
“My mother is long gone, long passed, but one thing that my mother really gave me was grounding me in spirituality by taking me to church and just understanding about love and be strong and to have faith, whatever comes,” Campbell said.

It was the faith and trust she placed in him that has meant the most to Dulinda Munasinghe, a Sri Lankan-American working in a photocopy shop.

“My mom gave me all the freedom I needed, and she told me ‘Don’t misuse it.’ And I think that was the greatest help I ever got in my life, because if I were to hold and restrict myself, I would have rebelled or something," Munasinghe said. "But since she gave me all the freedom, I grew up to be a great kid. I think I really appreciate that from my mom and I love her.”

Just down the street, Ian Joscowitz works hard to keep his supermarket clean and his customers and employees happy. His mother is a big part of why.
Ian Joscowitz's mother told him Ian Joscowitz's mother told him "work is sweet." (VOA/A. Phillips)
x
Ian Joscowitz's mother told him
Ian Joscowitz's mother told him "work is sweet." (VOA/A. Phillips)

"Something my mother said to me many years ago, she actually said it in Yiddish, but the essence in translation was: ‘Work makes life sweet,’" Joscowitz said. "And it always stuck with me, and it has always been a driving force in my life. You have to feed your family. You have to put a roof over their head. Security. Your family. Leisure. These are the sweet things in life.”
 
One mother had some hard-won advice to pass on to her daughter, now a young, single mother herself.

"What my mama taught me was basically not to depend on no man and to be very independent," said Alexandra Ferreras. "And ever since then, that’s what I do. I’ve been working since I was 16 because of her. I buy myself everything that I need and what my daughter needs.”

Bill, wearing Afro-centric clothes, says his mother focused as much on past heritage as she did on future concerns.

“When I think of my mother, I think of her instilling [in] me the beliefs and the spirits of the ancestors and helping me do our family research," he said. "Just in a couple of weeks, I will be placing a dedication for my great-grandfather because of a family bible that she inherited. I stand on their shoulders and that’s the important thing at this age. I am 71 now, so hey, I must have gotten something from it."

Gene credits his mom with health and a love of knowledge. “My mother always told me take my time, study, go to school and stay in school. Education brings you a lot further in life. I am 40 now, my birthday just passed, and I am thankful to be living. I am healthy. I have everything to thank her for.” 
Mustafa Khan's mother taught him to never to speak ill of others. (VOA/A. Phillips)Mustafa Khan's mother taught him to never to speak ill of others. (VOA/A. Phillips)
x
Mustafa Khan's mother taught him to never to speak ill of others. (VOA/A. Phillips)
Mustafa Khan's mother taught him to never to speak ill of others. (VOA/A. Phillips)
   
Mustafa Khan’s mother offered practical advice.  

“My mother taught me not to talk behind people’s back because what goes around comes around," Khan said. "Now, I don’t talk bad about people behind their back, because if I do, people talk bad behind my back."

For Jan’s mother, wisdom was in the details. "My mother told me that I should always have a nice wallet.  The idea was not to buy a cheap wallet, [but] to buy a good one; the reason being is that you see it every day...It’s a combination of practicality and beauty in your life."

Just a few pearls of maternal wisdom New Yorkers will be contemplating amid the flowers, the chocolates, the hugs and the fancy brunches on Mother's Day 2013.

You May Like

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs