When Louise Battle's husband died, their son was 7 and their daughter, 12. The grief was deep, but through her leadership and abiding faith, her family has not only maintained, but soared.
Twenty-four years later, Dr. Battle, an ordained elder at Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church in Washington, D.C., is witnessing the fruit of her faith and diligence as she was named the D.C. region 2014 "State Mother of the Year" by American Mothers Inc., a D.C.-based national organization that is "committed to valuing mothers through service and education."
Battle, also a federal employee, says she "fell in love with children babysitting as a young girl ... but mainly wanted children because of the love that I had for my husband. The man was tall, black and handsome, and I wanted to marry him and have his babies! I saw how he treated his mother. And I was always told that the way a man treats his mom is how he would treat you. But, he smoked for 34 years."
Her beloved died of lung cancer in July 1989 and Battle is now a heroine in the eyes of her two children and four grandchildren. They and others wrote letters nominating her for the honor, which recognizes her service to family, church and community.
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Battle, who has already written three books including The Fight Is On! about her triumph over breast cancer, says she is now working on a parenting book. Here are three principles that she views as the keys to successful motherhood:
The first key is listening: "I used to have date times for my children. Being a boy and a girl, their interests were different. April liked to go to movies. Philip liked games and go-cart riding."
During this quality time, she would talk with and listen to them to bond and get to know their personalities and their thoughts on what's going on in their lives. Her favorite place to take them together was a duck pond at the U.S. Arboretum in D.C. "We used to make goals, sit out there on a blanket and make goals for the year."
The second key is watching their talents and skills in order to steer them toward "God's purpose and plan for their lives."
The final key, she said, is "transferring your faith in God to them." This means "showing them how to live," not just instructing them. It also means "just being there for them" in times of trouble, "listening to them, helping them to see what it is that they're going through and helping them to come to the right solutions."
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The Book of Proverbs is her favorite book of guidance and wisdom for her children. That's also the book that says, "Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her." (Proverbs 31:28)
Battle concludes: "We're substitute parents for the children that God has given us. So, what we do with them, He looks at that."
Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Louise Battle
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