Women Who Make Family Happen

Having Family Projects, Say Three Women, Helps Keep Relatives Happy

March 30, 2005 -- Pamela Simonson looks around at her cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and others, and realizes being a part of a happy healthy family, often takes hard work and commitment. Even to the extent of creating special projects, having a mission, or undertaking unique endeavors.

A special endeavor Simonson alluded to, was a recent project started with her own family in mind. She was talking about the collection of family sayings her grandmother, mother, and she wrote together.

Their book, Pearls of Wisdom From Three Generations, epitomizes family, security, and love, with its many uplifting expressions, affirmations, and proverbs. She described the project as something that has galvanized her relationship with her mother and grandmother as business partners, as well as her predecessors. But she also sees it, as a template for other families to begin to develop deeper stronger relationships with loved ones.

As Mother's Day approaches, Simonson, a Washington National Opera soprano, is grateful for the sanctuary her family provides. She feels productive, committed, and enthusiastic about life as a result of them. The book is a by-product and manifestation of the love and could have taken form in any genre and can be done by relatives.

Simonson does not necessarily recommend every family write a book, but does encourage kinfolk to find common ground ¨C outside of getting together for events, and solidify their talents or interests. She suggests projects in the arts, music, literature, compiling a video, or even creating a shared website. Simonson also mentioned families could start a non-profit company,

The third generation teacher follows in a line of strong women, her grandmother Celia Ford, and her mother, Theresa Allen, who shared the authorship of the book, but makes clear, it is the also strong men in her family that help make her who she is today.

Simonson explained that her grandfather and her aunt have had businesses together for years, which have helped develop respect on another level. While she and her brother, Victor Simonson, perform concerts together. The elder Simonson, also the Musical Director for the acclaimed Three Mo' Tenors, and his sister are hailed as the "Only African American brother and sister vocal classical duet in the USA!

"My family is very tight knit and I think that helps. I am blessed not to have been down trodden, on drugs, or desolate," stated Simonson. "My mother and grandmother and others have also been supportive in every way," she continued.

"In fact, it has been our Pearls of Wisdom From Three Generations project that has bought us together on a more consistent basis. We have an opportunity to hear a different voice from each other. It is very good therapy ¨C I recommend a special project for all families." Simonson confidently stated.

She advises to find a special mission, adopt a project, or invest in business. The 27 year old music teacher also recommends making Mother's Day the kick-off date to start a project and have the first family meeting.

"My grandmother was 75, Mommie was 50, and I was 25 when we came up with the idea of doing Pearls of Wisdom From Three Generations". Now we pen an advice column, Ask Pearls of Wisdom seen weekly in the Washington Informer and we are also working on other Pearls of Wisdom items. The trio was sitting in Ford's kitchen two years ago when they realized they were exactly twenty-five years apart and decided to do something special. What first started out as a poem has become a beloved collection.

Ford, Allen, and Simonson have also evolved into doing motivational speaking and public events. Their recent presentation Pearls of Wisdom from Past Generations at the Smithsonian Institute highlighted their family history dating back to the 1700's and included a multi-media slide show, artifacts, and family photographs.

Simonson believes in the ideology of God first, family second, and business third.

"It's a blessing to be able to have all three rolled into one with our book, " stated the New York native. They call the project a ministry now (God), working together (family), and make a couple of dollars on the side (business).

"Not a bad way to make your family work in a loving, productive, and fun way", she said.

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