My Mom

by Don Boudreaux on March 28, 2008

in Complexity & Emergence

I pay my respects here — far too inadequately, to be sure — to my wonderful, late mother.

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AJ March 28, 2008 at 8:21 am

Requiescat in pace.

Python March 28, 2008 at 8:41 am

Professor B.,

As a 6 year old I helped myself to a roll of Certs breath mints from the local mart. Later, while wrestling with my brother, the packet of candy flew out of my jeans and into my mother's field of view. Knowing that I wouldn't have had the money to buy such a luxury she asked where I had gotten them. The next day she marched me down to the store, had me confess my pilfery to some random clerk, and I never stole again.

Gary March 28, 2008 at 9:52 am

Quite moving. Please accept my condolences.

muirgeo March 28, 2008 at 10:06 am

Hear hear! Touching. Through all the wretchedness, all the wickedness, through all success and greatness of the human endeavor through all of time and history mothers are the one constant thing that keeps it all together and keeps the show running. With regards to your mother and your family.

caveat bettor March 28, 2008 at 1:01 pm

I am sorry for your loss. I imagine your mom is quite proud of you.

M. Hodak March 28, 2008 at 1:05 pm

Don, again my condolences. I lost my mother just a few years ago, and you world never quite seems the same again.

Python, you're story reminds me of this one from Catherine Crier:

"The three strikes law is terrible. I went down and did a piece where this kid had burgled his mother's and neighbor's garage for money to buy pot. So that's two strikes. The mother used tough love and made him go down to the police and confess. And he marched right down. In our day they would have said, 'Okay, take him home, give him a spanking.' But two felonies. Then he was caught standing lookout for a kid who was selling drugs in the alleyway. That was three. He's doing life."

Ramón Mier March 28, 2008 at 1:26 pm

My Condolences Don. I have been deeply moved by what you had to say about your mother. It made me think about my own parents and grand parents.

By sharing your moms values, they were able to rise from the poverty of their small towns in Mexico and give their sons and grandsons the opportunity of a better education and a better life.

If it is al right with you, I would like to publish your text translated to spanish in my personal blog.

Mark N. March 28, 2008 at 3:44 pm

What a great article. Very moving.

Greg Newburn March 28, 2008 at 5:17 pm

"My mom (along with my dad) contributed to civilization in the best way that anyone can hope: She taught her children to be civilized."

She succeeded, sir. May she rest in peace.

If I recall, you are a fan of Richard Dawkins. I'm sure you've read his, "The Anaesthetic of Familiarity" from "Unweaving the Rainbow."

It begins: "We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Sahara. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here."

The whole essay can be found at:,5

I hope it helps…

bee March 28, 2008 at 10:25 pm

My condolences.

Your mom (ad dad) are truly worthy of society's accolades. Service to others and humility in life are rare virtues.

thinktwice March 28, 2008 at 11:26 pm

Great piece. My condolences. Sometimes I wonder if it's human nature to be dishonest, to cheat, to steal, and to discriminate. If everyone had a mom like yours, the world would be a much better place.

VulcanHammer March 29, 2008 at 2:13 am

Excellent post and my condolences. I will bookmark this article and read it again.

Mesa Econoguy March 29, 2008 at 3:13 am

“Note the optimism in this reply. Work hard and you'll achieve. As politically incorrect as it is to affirm, this statement is true.”

Let us keep her memory alive for this point alone.

indiana jim March 29, 2008 at 10:00 pm


I am sorry for your loss; my father passed about 3 years ago. He was a fabulous parent and so was your mom from your description.

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