Jane Goodall on the very best kind of mother

Jane Goodall on the very best kind of mother

Last week, I heard an interview with Jane Goodall on Science Friday on NPR. (I know, you’re shocked I wasn’t rocking out during my commute to kick off a wild weekend, but allow me to proudly flash my geek credentials. If you missed it, you can listen to the full episode here.)

I was struck by what she said about motherhood, about seven minutes into the interview.

Goodall talks about a chimpanzee named Flo, whom she describes as “the very best kind of mother.”

Just as I wondered how she might define that, Goodall says of Flo, “She was affectionate, protective but not overprotective and, above all, supportive.”

And I thought to myself, “Why, yes, that does sound like a wonderful kind of mother, and she phrased that far more succinctly than I ever could. Of course Jane Goodall nails it.”

Goodall then went on to say that she attributes much of her success to her mother and the support she gave her. “She supported my dream of going to Africa when everyone laughed at me. I was 10 years old at the time,” she says.

She explains that in her observation, supportive parenting by chimps creates offspring who tend to do better in their community and are more successful. “It stresses the importance of . . . the kind of upbringing that you have,” she says.

So, moms, if you’re wondering if you’re making a difference, you are.

You loving your kid for exactly who they are right now, and their dreams of who and what they want to be in the future, has a huge impact on them.

And just in case your kids aren’t able to verbalize the importance of that to you right now, Jane Goodall thinks you should know that it’s true.

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