Stories and Quotations to Inspire Your Children

This week I have for you seven inspirational stories and quotations from mothers who are friends or relations, and whose words of wisdom I always take note of. Their philosophies are different but they share these qualities:

  • dedication to their children
  • an understanding that you never give up
  • the optimism that is essential when you want to make the best of life

I have changed all the names below for fun. Read on to share their wisdom and then, dear friends, go out and share their stories with your little people.



An actress, broadcaster, and mother who I worked with in my early television reporting days. She has two young children and her favourite phrase is:

"Happiness is your own responsibility"

Her friend’s mother used to say this and she hated it. Life, surely, had only ever been good to this lady? But then, when in her late 30s, Emma got it. She realised what it meant. No matter which cards you are dealt, it is your reaction to them that becomes your day, your world, your you. Everything can be viewed with both positivity and negativity. The choice is yours. Charlie Chaplin said a day without laughter is a day wasted and Emma agrees. She wants her children to be so happy that when they laugh their stomachs hurt! Don’t we all?! This is the song she sings with them:

(Lyrics here:



Focussed, inspirational and driven, a business, IT guru specialising in start-ups and e-commerce. She has two sons aged 9 and 11 and she tells them:

“If you want something, you need to work for it”

Encouraged by parents who made her believe that she could do anything, she set up her own IT hosting company at 21. She knew she could go out there, work hard and get things done: hiring people, finding funding and securing clients. All of her success came through hard work.



Intelligent, artistic and incredibly generous; a merchandiser and designer who can rustle up a Roman blind in the blink of an eye. She has two children aged 9 and 10 and she is a fan of Tolstoy’s wisdom. She tells her children:

“The only important time is now, the most important people are the people you are with at this moment and the most important thing is to do good for the people standing by your side”

Whatever you are doing in life, focus on being in the moment. Tolstoy can teach us all something.



Insightful and kind with the ability to connect effortlessly with others - qualities that her children have inherited. She tells them:

“Never underestimate the element of surprise”

Overlooked for several leading parts in her final show at drama school, she successfully added a few cheeky lines to a predominantly non-speaking rôle for humour, which were then heard for the first time in the final performance. She also delivered a soliloquy from The Apple Cart by George Bernard Shaw that the tutors weren’t expecting. The agents were blown away and she secured a place at The Old Vic in Bristol.



A self-confident, quick-witted and inspiring businesswoman. She has two children aged 9 and 11. One morning on the way to school on the tube, she heard a homeless man reciting a poem called “It’s nice to be nice”. This led to a discussion on how an act of kindness can actually make you happy and the mantra:

“Be kind - it feels good”

Psychologists have shown that there is a link between kindness and well-being throughout life that starts at a very young age. There is method in the madness of philanthropy. Share this with your children.



A lawyer with three children aged 15, 13 and 11. She is a philosophical thinker, placing high value on family and friends and managing to fit a huge amount into a busy life. Tess believes that as long as you put effort into what you do and try your hardest, it will all work out in the end. She tells her children:

“It all comes out in the wash”

Don’t forget to look at the bigger picture. What seems stressful in the here and now, may not be so important in the bigger scheme of things. Which made me think of this:



Considerate, practical and resourceful with so many stories to tell. She says to her daughters:

“If at first you don't succeed, try, try again”

You have to be bad at something many times before you become good. You can't stay away from something just because you are not good at it, you have to give it a go many, many times until it is good. Anything worthwhile takes effort and repeated attempts at perfection.


So there we have it! The end of this week’s offering. “Life is to be lived", so go out there and live it people!


And next week inspired by some of the individuals I heard speak at the Independent Schools Show, Secrets of the 11+ part 2.