Kathryn Stockett’s book The Help has many themes some of which include race, the importance of literature and writing, and society and class. However another important theme, loving others, is explored through the relationship between Aibileen and Mae Mobley. Mae Mobley is the two year old daughter of Elizabeth and Raleigh Leefolt. Aibileen Clark is the maid who takes care of her. Mae Mobley is neglected and physically and verbally abused by her mother Elizabeth. When Mae Mobley starts to believe these things are her own fault, Aibileen feels compelled to change the girl’s mind. She tries to instill in the little girl a sense of self-worth by asking Mae Mobley to remember three things, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” Abileen realizes that she has the power to influence this young child’s future by teaching her love, kindness and equality.
Those three sentences have had a profound influence on me! As a parent I know that I have the power to shape the kinds of human beings that I will raise. I want my children to know that they are good people and that they are worth something! And so began the nightly ritual of telling my children every night before bed that they are smart, they are kind and they are important. If I forget, they are sure to remind me to tell them “The Words”.