Geraldine LeGrand of Rockingham has been asked many times how she manages to keep a functioning household with 10 children.
“It was a job,” she said. “It was hard work. But I knew I had to be here. My husband was on the road a lot working. I knew it was my job to look after the family.”
LeGrand’s husband Rev. Tommy LeGrand remains active in ministry today, but spent some time on the road with a trucking company.
LeGrand recently received an award that she said overwhelmed her. She was named Mother of the Year by the Business and Professional Women’s Federation Nation Chapter, Church of God in Christ.
She received the award in Atlanta, Ga., at the Second Annual Women of the Year Awards Luncheon. She said her family and friends came to support her.
Recently, one of her seven sons became ordained as Elder Eric Michael LeGrand. He spoke on at the convention when his mother’s award was announced.
“On behalf of my siblings and I, we would like to thank the committee for honoring our Mom as Mother of the Year,” he said. “She has really been a blessing to us as well as touching the lives of many others. She often sacrificed her dreams so we could achieve ours. She taught us how to love our children not by telling, but showing us. When we doubted our ability she would encouraged us like only a mother can. We would leave the conversation motivated and with the confidence that we could accomplish anything.
“She never liked to be out in front, so she worked behind the scenes to insure that programs were successful. We would like to say thank you for the many sacrifices and the love that you have shown us. My father as well as my siblings and I would not have been able to accomplish our goals without you. Once again we would like to thank you and we love you,” said Eric.
“I was so overwhelmed with joy I could only cry,” said LeGrand, who never expected to receive credit for the sacrifices she made.
LeGrand was a working parent, and took jobs in school systems where they lived — Rockingham and Greensboro among other places — and worked with special needs children. She has also helped out in the ministry when she could.
So how did she manage a household with so many children?
“I had a system,” she explained. “We had prayer and devotion in the morning, then we would have our breakfast. I had a plan. We had a long table that sat about five on one side and five on the other. Everybody knew their chores. I taught them how to organize and work. They helped me. I taught them that, cleaning and all of that. They couldn’t go out until their work was done. We read the Bible and worked and prayed and that’s what we did.”
LeGrand sees differences between her and other mothers today, many of whom are struggling.
“Single moms get frustrated and don’t know what to do,” she said from experience, as her husband was often gone with his trucking job. “Mothers; If you pray and ask the Lord and be sincere and put him first, he will show you how to go. When he made us, he made a plan. He will show you how to do it. Children are going to be children, but you have to teach them and take your time with them and discipline them and love them, instill in them the righteousness. I had 10 and each was different. He will show you how to deal with their personalities.”
LeGrand said she got through with the Lord’s help, but she also did it by putting herself aside.
“I never really thought about myself. I looked after others. Sometimes I can’t believe that all my children have been successful in life. That was our goal. I wanted them to do better and have an education because I didn’t get it like I should have, because of the situation at the time.”
LeGrand said many of her children have entered professions where they help people, such as by becoming police officers, social workers or the principal of a school.
LeGrand continues to help children and the ministry in the community.
“Ministry has always been our way of life,” she said. “So whoever we could help, carry along, encourage or inspire, we would do that.”
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.