By a comfortably wide margin, our Boomer panel voted “Mom” as the person who most influenced their lives.
“I saw in her qualities that I longed to have…her patience, her choice to take the high road, her self-sacrifice,” one person replied. “Not everyone would admire self-sacrifice, but it was an honorable quality, even if it meant she was less happy than she might otherwise have been.
“She sacrificed herself for the sake of her children. Also, I rarely heard her say a bad thing about anyone.
“Now, when I struggle with how to react to some life event, I find myself wondering how Mom would have dealt with it.”
“I was an only child,” said J.D., “and my Dad died when I was seven. Mom was of course the biggest influence.”
“My mother,” commented M.F., “has shown me how to take life as it is, and not be fearful…at least most of the time!”
“My mother taught me I could do anything,” said K.L., “and the only true failure is a failure to try. She also taught me to laugh.”
Dad and parents
Said R.H.: “My father influenced me most. He has more character and integrity than anyone I have met in my entire life. He remains my hero and ultimate role model.”
“I suppose my Dad had the greatest influence in my life culturally and professionally,” another older Boomer – now a physician -- emphasized. “I liked the respect he received from his friends and patients, and I could tell it was mutual.”
“My parents acting as a team influenced me,” said R.R. “I received my mother’s love of life, her soft heart, her affection for music and literature. I received my father’s attention to detail and his sense of old-world formality.
“They gave me the tools with which to walk through this life by educating me in everything from the Bible to simple good manners and compassion.”
“My dad taught me to be as independent as I could safely be,” said S.W. “My mom taught me that there is a spiritual world we mere humans cannot see.”
Other influential people
“My wife has influenced me most,” said D.C. “For 35 years, she continues to support what I do, and helps me get over the bumps in the road."
“I have loved being married to the man I am married to,” said H.J. “I was not really a shy, meek, or mild child, but my husband is strong-willed and very outspoken. In order to get into his life, I had to become so much stronger emotionally.”
“My children,” emphasized R.S. “The quote is ‘the son is the father to the man,’ and it made sense to me when I realized that my children had taught me the most important things in life.”
“My cousin,” said J.D., “is 87 years old, lives in California, has traveled all over the world, and is the most stimulating, challenging person I know.”