A mother’s worth

By Imani Burrell
YO: Durham Intern
the Durham VOICE


Recent information from the North Carolina Department of Justice reports that between 2010 and 2011 juvenile crime dropped by 7 percent in all crime categories and 10 percent in violent crime.

Imani Burrell (Staff photo by Carlton Koonce)

I figure that there’s nothing much for teens in town to do, and that could be a reason why they get involved in crime.

Growing up in East Durham and being in high school, it bothers me sometimes hearing people say teens don’t have role models or people to look up to and that’s why they turn to crime.

I say not true.

I have a great role model and someone to admire in Lavern Lucier – my mom.

Why do I admire my mother? She’s like no other person I know.

My mom is always there when I need someone to talk to. Even when I don’t see the brightest side of things, her eye is there to help me find it. I know she’s come a long way to raise me from diapers to now and it hasn’t always been the easiest road.

Maybe that’s why she tells me, “Don’t be like me; be but be better in any way possible.”

My mom always has good advice like that. She has this way of figuring out how to solve issues.

For example, last year I had misunderstandings with teachers and would go home and talk about my issues.

“Just don’t say anything,” Mama told me. “Go in and get your work done and keep your mouth closed.”

“They already have it — you have to get it,” she said.

I always remember that quote when there’s trouble going on with me in class.

I look up to Lavern not just as a mother, but as a guiding, inspiring and kind-hearted lady. She is a very helping woman. She might not do everything the “best,” but she does what she can at her best ability.

Living her life like she does, she’s a great role model to my sisters and me. Watching her is showing us how to grow up into great women.

As a great woman, she’s one who likes to get things done right before others. I always pick with her and say, “Ma, you’re always trying to do things before other people — trying to be better.”

She’ll look at me with her glowing smile and say nothing.

Sometimes people tell me, “‘Mani, you’re always smiling. Why?’”

I ask why not smile? There are so many reasons to.

Mom is one reason why I smile. Just the thought of having that special someone in my life is enough.

She’s touched more lives than just my own, too.

She’s always willing to help out like ushering in church, helping at concession stands and other community events.

Living her life like she does inspires me. It could be the smallest thing she could does or says and it means a lot to me.

My mom is one of the best. She’s not an angel all of the time, but she can be when she wants.

And what role model is perfect anyway?

I used to let it bother me when other people would talk negatively. That doesn’t bother me anymore.

“Don’t worry about what others may say about you; keep on doing what your doing,” she says. “It’s not what they call you; it’s what you answer too.”

Encouraging words like this carry me a long way.

If that’s not a role model, I don’t know what one is.