What's her secret?: 'Be as involved as you can'

abredeson@islandpacket.comJanuary 27, 2014 

Babara Barrett of Hilton Head Island with her family.

RUSSELL DAVIDSON — Submitted photo

  • REAL MOMS, REAL ADVICE

    The moms featured in this column are not bragging about themselves. They often have no idea they are even being selected for the weekly feature until they get a phone call. Most are recommended by readers. Please send your suggestions of Lowcountry moms to features writer Amy Bredeson at abredeson@islandpacket.com.

Name: Barbara Barrett

Husband: David

Town: Hilton Head Island

Children: David Barrett, 47; Sharon Broz, 44; Laura Davidson, 40; Tim Barrett, 35; Anne Wingfield, 29

Number of grandchildren: Nine

Occupation: Math tutor; retired Hilton Head Island High School math teacher

Favorite mommy moment: My favorite mommy moment is every time my children and I hug each other in parting, and they say to me, "I love you, Mom." It always warms my heart and brings me great joy.

Most challenging moment: I found the most challenging moment was and still is when I see my child hurt or betrayed. With time, I have gained the perspective that the struggles are just as important as the successes because they give us an opportunity to learn and to grow spiritually.

Favorite book for adults: "God's Money," a book that addresses money and currency in the field of economics, is a favorite because my husband wrote it. I have read it twice, and it is full of great stories about people and money throughout the centuries. The book that made an indelible imprint on my mind is "Hinds' Feet on High Places," by Hannah Hurnard. It is a beautiful allegory of our spiritual journey, and I often pick it up and reread a section randomly.

Favorite book for children: "The Little Engine That Could" by Watty Piper is the book I love to read to my grandchildren because "I think I can" gives such hope and promise as we all meet our challenges.

Hobbies: Walking the beach, gym classes, golf, reading, tutoring, needlepoint and knitting

Best household tip: Neatness goes a long way.

Hardest age for your kids: The world is very different now than when I was growing up. I think the hardest age for my kids was when they felt peer pressure. The eldest siblings helped the younger ones through past experience but likewise felt the pressure (at still a young age) of having the responsibility to "set the tone." They all helped each other learn and advance through some of life's toughest choices. It indeed does take a "family" to raise a child.

Best family vacation: Spring breaks on Hilton Head Island were the best. That's when we fell in love with the island. Now that I live here, I have to remind myself to "play tourist."

What would you tell a younger you: I would tell a younger me that life is what you make it and that each of us should seek our own path.

What do you do with your grandchildren that you didn't do with your children? As a working mom while the two youngest were growing up, I didn't always have the liberty to dictate my own schedule. When I am with my grandchildren, I get to walk them to the bus and be there when they get home from school. It is a wonderful moment for me when I can sit and share afternoon snack and listen to them.

Advice for other moms: It starts at the home. I would tell any mom to be as involved as you can and to be aware of the parameters of that involvement. As a retired teacher, I saw direct correlation between parental involvement and student success. But at the end of the day, I strongly believe that raising a family takes a lot of work, a lot of prayers, a lot of love and a lot of luck.

Follow Amy Coyne Bredeson at twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.

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