Family Advocate Dissects Traits That Help Single Moms Raise Leaders

Published: Monday, December 10, 2012 at 04:06 PM.

    • “Erin Brockovich” (2000) – If kids’ basic needs aren’t being met, you can’t expect them to be able to focus on the higher pursuits for which leaders-in-the-making must aim, Tardy says. “The first thing Erin does right in this movie is to doggedly pursue getting a job,” he says. Then, though she’s just a legal clerk, she discovers a puzzling case file and follows her intuition to dig into it and learn more. She eventually uncovers a large company’s complicity in contaminating a town’s water supply. “Erin believed in herself – she knew her questions were valid and she pursued them. And she thought for herself – she didn’t accept the big company’s pat answers,” Tardy says. “What I especially like is that this movie is based on a true story.”

    • “Forrest Gump” (1994) – Forrest Gump appeared to have a lot of disadvantages, starting with a low IQ, but his mother, Mrs. Gump, believed in him and never stopped teaching him valuable life lessons, including, “Life is like a box of chocolates ... you never know what you're gonna get.” Tardy notes that she communicated with Forrest in the way he best understood. “That’s important for all parents,” he says. “Everyone has a communication style, and it’s up to parents to figure out what works best for their children.”

    • “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991) – Targeted for death by a nearly indestructible killing machine in the first movie, Sarah Connor not only survives, she is impregnated by a man from the future and then slays the terminator. In the second film, we find her institutionalized during her son’s boyhood because everyone thinks she’s crazy. Despite all of that, when she is finally able to reconnect with her son, Sarah throws herself into teaching him how to be the leader of the human resistance. “Sarah is focused, unyielding, and determined to teach her son John all he needs to fend off a robo-apocalypse,” Tardy says. “You gotta love a mom like that!”

Single mothers don’t have to look to the movies to find inspiration, adds Tardy, who also wrote “A Flying Start: Outta This World Advice for Young Men,” a companion book to “Seven Secrets.”

“There are countless great real-life examples: Lourdes Rodriguez, mother of baseball great Alex; Gloria Carter, mother of influential musician Shawn “Jay Z”; and how about Ann Dunham, mother of our first black president, Barack Obama?” he says.

“They all had a plan and they all ensured their sons had one, too.”

About Cederick Tardy



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