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Management Concepts Learned From My Mom   
    Photo of Don Sutaria
A Belated Tribute to My Mom, Dina Sutaria   
During my turbulent teenage years I secretly promised myself that I would never be like my own mother! That is, I would never be tense and worry about my children. Guess what? I have broken this promise many times over in my life. And now I am pleased to say (not sorry...) that I have become my own mother!

As another Mother's Day rolls around on Sunday, May 13, 2012, I have finally put the pencil to the paper and wrote this little tribute. Mom, I know you are in heaven! Please spend a couple of minutes to read this heartfelt note. I know it is so late! You departed for the Abode of the Gods on July 6, 1988, but in my heart you rest enshrined.

I have learned so many things from you, beyond the weighty management textbooks! If there were only a few words to pick to describe you, it would be: Compassion, Kindness, Forgiveness, Charity, Listening, Timing, Sacrifice, Encouragement and Self Control.

You did not preach these virtues but just practiced them, with compassion leading the pack! You knew that values were caught, not taught!

How many times have I seen you eat meatless meals, just scraping the bottom of the pot of lentil soup with an end piece of bread so that your children could have full stomachs!

How many times have I seen you share your meal with a poor starving servant before she started to help you with the household chores!

How many times have I seen you give away your best saris to women servants who were clothed in rags and tatters because they could not afford it!

How many times have I see you give alms to the beggars and the starving although we ourselves were poor and could have used the money!

How many times have I seen you forgive the penalty to laundry personnel who lost family clothes!

How many times have I seen you wash the wounds of my friends and bandage them on the playground, when they were hurt and bleeding from the knees!

How many times have I had stomach aches in school and you immediately came to fetch me!

How many times have I seen you pray fervently for the family, especially on Friday evenings, a special time you had set aside for prayer!

How many times have I seen you visit the sick at their homes or in the hospitals in spite of your heavy family commitments!

How many times have I seen you give cups of cold water to strangers during heat waves!

How many times have I seen you give scraps of food and bones to stray dogs in the streets!

How many times have I seen you patch your clothes or make them so that your children could have money to buy school uniforms!

How many times did you sleep on the floor on a thin bedding so that I could have a larger bed to sleep in!

How many times did I say hurtful words as a teenager or assumed a silent passive-aggressive behavior but you never lashed out in anger at that moment!

How many times did I see teenage girls and young women being comforted by you after their broken love affairs!

How many times did you persuade Dad to say yes to something even after he said no for financial reasons, but you felt it was the right thing to spend on for a child's development!

How many times did I see you proud and rejoice when I scored some modest achievements in schools and colleges!

How many times have I seen you suffer in pain due to rheumatoid arthritis and myasthenia gravis, but you put on a happy face when your children and grandchildren were near!

How many times have I seen you rejoice in our rejoicings, even small victories!

How many times have I seen you mourn in our mourning, during sicknesses, deaths, separations and divorces!

How many times have I seen you lovingly plead with brilliant physicians and surgeons and obtained excellent medical care for your family at minimal cost even when we could not afford their fees!

How many times have I heard you say to me and my wife Elizabeth, "Be kind to one another," not just the almost-cliché, "Love one another!"

How many times have I wondered that you would have become a good family physician or a social worker, or a nurse or a teacher, but I am so glad in the final analysis that you chose to find your vocation, calling and mission at home!

I, nor my brother and sister, would be where we are today, if we did not have you!

I am so glad you were my Mom! For this, I remember you and give thanks to God today, on Mother’s Day!

Can I recite a little poem, Mother, which my paternal grandpa secretly taught me and I recited it to you as a surprise on Mother's Day, when I was about seven years old?

"M" is for the Million things she gave me,

"O" means only that she is growing Old,

"T" is for the Tears she shed to save me,

"H" is for her Heart of purest gold,

"E" is for her Eyes with love-light shining bright,

"R" means Right, and Right she will always be,

Put them all together, they spell "MOTHER",

A word that means the world to me.

- Howard Johnson (1915)

I Love You, Mom.

(Dina Sutaria was in a hospital in Bombay, India, when she received her last Mother's Day greeting card from me, in May 1988. I have been told that she also read The Holy Bible I had given her, which she kept below her hospital bed mattress. She died peacefully at home, at age 72, on July 6, 1988, surrounded by her loved ones. The last time she waved goodbye to me and my family from the balcony of her apartment was on December 29, 1987. May her soul rest in peace.)


Don Sutaria, also known as "Career Doctor Don", is Founder and President of CareerQuest. He has been quoted frequently in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, on radio and television and has taught at various colleges. He is the author of Career And Life Counseling From The Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!).

Find me on LinkedIn Don Sutaria, M.S., I.E. (Prof.)   
Phone: (908) 686-8400     Fax: (908) 686-8400 (on request)     Cell: (908) 377-9015   
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