I once read a book titled, “Surrounding Yourself With Greatness” written by a football player named Chad Lewis. He was a tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints. He spoke of his family life, his LDS mission, and his football career, among other things. I love football and so the cover got me instantly hooked. It had a picture of Chad walking off of the football field wearing his uniform and gear after a game and the words “Surrounding Yourself With Greatness” written in large letters. I read the book at a very important time in my early teenage years and it was not what I expected. I was thinking it was going to be about his football career and how he surrounded himself with the best players around. The message I got, however, was much more important than how to win football games. From the book, I realized that we, as human beings, are influenced a great deal by our surroundings. From the social atmosphere and culture, to the people, we become more and more like our surroundings and because of that, it is extremely important that we surround ourselves with greatness. Great people, great morals and values, great ideas and leaders and all the other “greats” you can think of.
I have been extremely blessed to have been surrounded by many of these greats. Many of the most influential of these have been the great women (and their husbands) in my life. Women like Sister Lyon, who was a teacher, a friend’s mom, a great cook, and a great example. Or there is Sister Hansen, who has been like a second mother to me (I’m not sure how she put up with me at her house most days for more than ten years). Then you have my brothers’ wives who have been very close friends. On my mission I have also come across some of the other greatest women I have met. I have met great mom’s to their children, wives to their husbands, and servants of The Lord. Some (but certainly not all) of these women are people like Sister Aven, Sister Rodrigues, Sister Egan, and I cannot forget Sister Barry and Sister Craig. All of these women have taught me something in their own way. All of them are excellent examples of the “Greatness” I have mentioned. With all of I have, I express my utmost gratitude to these wonderful women and wish them a Happy Mother’s Day.
However, there is one woman who stands out above the rest. That’s right, it’s Mom. From birth to the present, my mom has been the greatest example of “Greatness” in my life. I cannot begin to tell you how many fights she has stopped, meals she has made, rooms she has cleaned, hospital trips she has made, life lessons she has taught, dishes she has washed, and lives she has changed. She has helped me and five of my brothers get our Eagle Scout awards, taught us how to cook, clean, learn, study, keep peace, love, listen, and gain testimonies for ourselves, among a host of others things. She has taught me and my brothers how to gain a relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ, who my mom exemplifies so well. If only all of us could be like my mom, the world would be near perfection. In behalf of myself, my brothers, and all others who have been touched by the life of my mom, Melodee Herrick, I say with all my heart, thank you, love you, and Happy Mother’s Day!