This Mother’s Day, TNAP spoke to three special mothers, Esther Lim, Eileen Yeo, and Julia Gabriel. They share with us on the invaluable lessons their mothers have taught them.

Mummy #3: Julia Gabriel, Founder and Director of Julia Gabriel Education

Lesson #1 – What my mother taught me when I was a childJulia Gabriel and her son

When I was a child, my mother taught me the value of books and reading. She was an avid eclectic reader of books, newspapers, magazines and periodicals of all kinds, she loved words and stories, so our house was full of books. Of course I wanted to learn to read like her so I learned to value sitting quietly with a book. Today my books are my friends. I always have two or three on the go and never travel without my electronic reader.

Lesson #2: What my mother taught me in my teenage years

In my teenage years my mother taught me her fears – about people who were different to us and people who were not to be trusted. It took me years to unravel those fears and to be comfortable with the knowledge that I could not share all my mother’s values.

Lesson #3: What my mother taught me about men/marrying the right partner

My mother taught me that I must make my own choices in life, by objecting strongly to all the men I chose. After a while I realised that I couldn’t please her so I must learn to please myself. That was when I started to grow up.

Lesson #4 – What my mother taught me about being a mother

On being a mother, my mother was a wonderful teacher. By example, she taught me to commit to my children, to believe in their unique abilities, to support their choices and to love them. She made family the focus of her life and didn’t have a career outside the home, so when my sister and I grew up and moved out she struggled to start a new stage of her own life. When I look back I see that it must have been very difficult for her to surrender control to us, so she helped me to see how important it is to have a life and friends of my own, outside being a mother.

Lesson #5 – What my mother taught me about life

My mother passed away eight years ago. I think she knows how grateful I am for the big lessons she taught me about life. Some she intended to pass on and I hold them dear, knowing that they come from her. Others, I experienced painfully by challenging her beliefs and learning to be independent and authentic. In the autumn of her life, my mother discovered a new passion, teaching bridge. She was a gifted player and she taught me to play with such patience and care that I’m sure I found my passion for teaching through those precious times with her.

Julia GabrielJulia Gabriel has been teaching since the early-1980s and is the founder of the Julia Gabriel Education group. She was awarded a silver medal by the Guildhall School of Music and Drama for the highest examination achievement in the UK when completing her teaching diploma in 1982, and was made an honorary fellow of the school in 1993 by the Lord Mayor of London for her services to speech and drama. She also holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She has written and recorded television programmes for the Ministry of Education in Singapore, and is an accomplished storyteller, performer and lecturer.