Our son (who is in his final academic school year) recently received a task. The task was to describe two women (one known, the other a public personality) who have influenced you most. I was flattered to be chosen as the known woman influencer because he is surrounded by many strong women. (Oprah Winfrey was the public personality).

What really astounded me was what he saw as the qualities that make me influential. It was not the fact that I have two degrees. I was not the fact that I studied part time in order to pay for those degrees. It was not the fact that I am a director in my own business. It was not the success I have had as an attorney. It was none of the things that the world considers markers of success. No, he did not even mention those points. It was that I love gardening, baking & cooking and that I have a strong moral compass, on which he has based his own moral compass.

So on this Women’s Day, I find myself pondering the real meaning of success. Is it the markers generally accepted by society or is it rather the day-to-day mundane tasks that make us great in the eyes of those closest to us …the choices we make when we think nobody is looking. And anyway, whose opinion is the most important? Society at large or that of our nearest and dearest? Who will remember us when we have departed from this world and what will we be remembered for…? Will our legacies be in the empire we have built or will our legacies be in the people that walk on this earth long after we have left?

– Tanya van Schalkwyk –