How many different ways can a child express his or her appreciation for mom? Perhaps millions. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is how many essays have been submitted to my jewelry store since 1993.
I searched for my own birth mother since I was a teenager. I was adopted as a child, and although I loved my adoptive mother, I yearned to find my roots. Nearly twenty years later, I heard that she had died during my quest. Although I never met her, nor learned the reasons for my adoption, I did get the chance to meet two brothers, a sister, and my biological grandmother! I always maintained the belief that my adoption was for my well-being, and that it takes much courage for any mother to relinquish her child to another.
In honor of my adoptive mother and my birth mother, I founded the Why Mom Deserves a Diamond® writing contest. Today the contest is in honor of all moms. Grand prize winners receive diamonds and runners up receive other gemstones. Thousands of moms currently wear their gemstones in an eternal jewelry keepsake.
What I did not realize in 1993 was that the contest would benefit the world by boosting the self-esteem of kids. Feeling pride in one’s accomplishments gives one confidence and prepares them for a lifetime of success. Most of us agree that positive words have the power to encourage, inspire, and even heal. Dr. Masuru Emoto said, “Words of the soul reside in a spirit, and the act of speaking words has the power to change the world.” That is why I require all contestants to speak their words to their mothers when they come to collect their prizes. The contest makes kids stop, think, and reflect on the importance of their mothers. It also teaches the value of giving.
I also didn’t realize that the real prizes of the contest are the words the child writes. Words of love are the greatest gift that can be given. We always remember beautiful words that are spoken to us. Words are living things.
Although I did not realize the consequences of the contest in 1993, I now understand how it has positively spilled over into my life and business. The reader must understand that my small jewelry store has become a type of public podium, where thousands of kids have read their words aloud. Not only do their mothers hear this, but our employees, our customers, and myself. It is impossible not to be energized by these words, and this energy has helped Gallery of Diamonds grow in sales, despite any recession, for the past twenty-two years.
“Her voice: a chorus of angels. Her kisses: a butterfly’s whisper. Her spirit: a gentle summer breeze.”
“Mom is as beautiful as majestic unicorns flying into a cloud.”
“Stars and galaxies in her eyes, more beautiful than the finest butterflies.”
“When she smiles, the clouds part.”
Today, the contest has grown into a franchise with deep roots in the national school system. The contest has not only put Gallery of Diamonds on the map, but has also helped Orange County teachers fulfill Common Core State Standards for figurative language.
As I write these words, nearly eight thousand kids and their moms are on their way to Gallery of Diamonds.
Today, Why Mom Deserves a Diamond, Inc. has received essays that, if stacked in a pile, would nearly reach the top of the Washington Monument. Following is the poem of the first Diamond Winner that was discovered like buried treasure in that first stack of essays submitted in 1993. The author was a sophomore in high school when this was written. Although this author is 37 years old at the time of this publication, her words continue to positively affect our lives.
Her love is not blind
It is clear and forgiving
Her touch is all-knowing
Her joy is life giving
A symbol of courage
And strength she remains
All my joys and pains
The sweet voice of mother
Her strong, safe, embrace
I long to possess
Her pure, natural, grace
My Mother, my guide
And gemstone so rare
Deserves out of likeness
A diamond as fair
1993 Diamond Winner