Educator Luciana Gilmore understands the complexity of the mother-daughter dynamic. She encourages mothers to build strong relationships with their daughters. In her new book, Daughter, Have I Told You, Lately?, a colorful photo book with inspirational mother-daughter messages, provides the tools to initiate, empower and enhance open communication.
The Cleveland-based high school principal writes words to her daughters she wishes she heard as a young girl. Affirmations like, “Daughter, have I told you lately that all your dreams are possible? Daughter, have I told you lately that you are the best part of me? Daughter, understand that you have a purpose, pursue that purpose relentlessly.”
Gilmore has two daughters and a son. Her book is a complement to her greeting cards line, Gilmore Girls Greetings.
Read what she had to say.
Why did you write this book?
I wrote this book as a reflection of my daughter entering her senior year in high school, knowing that she was getting ready to enter college, and consciously thinking had I said enough and embedded in her enough affirmations that she would carry with her into adulthood. I understood from my walk as a principal the importance and power of words, so purposely I would affirm my school daughters, especially those who I knew personally and who I knew were in need of guidance and continued praise. Both lenses enabled me to write this book that I feel any daughter needs to hear and know.
What’s the story behind the title?
The story behind the title, Daughter, Have I Told You Lately?, is simply a question from a mother to daughter, ensuring that if I haven’t told you or if I haven’t told you in a while, I want to make sure you know how I feel about you. I want to make sure that you know how special of a young woman you are.
What do you hope readers will glean from reading your book?
I hope that readers glean a sense of [a] renewed spirit of knowing that each mother and daughter bond, although different in a variety of ways, all have an undeniable love and connection that is like no other relationship. I hope readers glean that when we feed our daughters affirmations for growth, we embed in them a sense of pride that external factors will not be able to break. Lastly, I want readers to glean that communicating with our daughters allows the bond to be strengthened from both ends.
How long did it take you to write this book?
It took me two months to write the book.
What was your regimen to complete this book?
To complete the book I would think of words I wanted my daughter to be able to go back and pull from long after they had been said to her. I wanted her to know from the time that I conceived her until after she is grown with a family of her own that I will always love, support, and encourage her to be the best woman she can be each and every day. So the words and the pictures I aligned were able to give a visual sense of love progression throughout the years
How did you arrive at this career choice? Was it a deliberate decision or a gradual and natural evolution?
So I didn’t choose this career choice, it chose me. I always knew that I would eventually do something other than formal education, I just didn’t know when or in what format. This company is a God-given vision that I am passionate about. I want young girls, young women, and mothers to understand the power of relationships, and the need for transparent effective communication. The mother-daughter relationship is special, and it truly shapes the future of our daughters.
The decision to pursue this was a gradual but a natural evolution. I kept saying it’s time, and then something would prevent me from walking in faith and moving forward, scared to death to take the jump! Ultimately, I knew it was time to move forward in my platform fully committed, when I felt that there were mothers and daughters waiting on me to get this company going. It had nothing to with me, but I knew others were waiting.
What separates you from others in your field? What is unique to the experience that you create?
What separates me from others in my field is that I bring a unique perspective, having been a daughter of a mother who was very strict and didn’t communicate openly, to having daughters that I had to learn how to openly communicate with, inclusive of my experience in education and being a part of young girls matriculating through school needing someone to talk to about what they were feeling or what they were going through are all experiences and skills that I bring with Gilmore Girls Greetings.
What is unique is that my background allows me to share overcoming personal circumstances that many young girls are currently facing or have faced. I am able to share how communication aids in helping our daughters overcoming life’s obstacles. Creating a space of courageous conversation and dialogue is a skill that I have fostered over the years and it helps in developing effective communication.
How do you stay at the leading edge of your craft?
I read a lot. I also feel that staying connected to young girls, women, and mothers allows me to constantly hear and understand their concerns, while also addressing my personal issues with my 18-year-old daughter and my 10-year-old daughter as well.
How do you map out your goals? How do you measure your success?
My goals are mapped out on my vision board, which I update as I see the goals come to life. I am my hardest critic so the measurement of success is what I view from others who have been a part of my goals. If I can see that what I have done has positively impacted someone, I view that as success.
Who do you consider to be your peers in your field? Who do you see or use as examples to emulate?
I look to Iyanla Vanzant who helps to fix relationships amongst families, pulling from her own experience. I look to Sarah Jakes and how she speaks to encourage and uplift many, by utilizing her personal experiences and spiritual guidance. Both women have been able to help others through their words and support.
Name two of your top role models: one from your industry and one from outside of it.
A top role model from the industry would be Sarah Jakes, and from outside the industry would be Michelle Obama.
Name three books, works, performances or exhibits that changed how you view life, yourself or both.
TD Jakes’ Instinct
John Maxwell’s No Limits
National Museum of African American History & Culture.
Both books and visiting the museum, have enabled me to be more focused on who I am as a person and my ability to impactful to many.
Why do you consider continued learning important?
Having a background in education, I understand that learning is a part of our continual growth. If we stop learning we stop our capacity for growth and limit our ability to reach new goals in life, as this world is continually excelling and advancing, we must keep learning.
What affirmations do you repeat to yourself that contribute to your success?
Daily affirmations include:
My work matters.
Little girls with dreams turn into women with vision!
Make today great.
Each of the above affirmations keeps me focused on my work, and helps to contribute to my actions daily.
What role does technology play in your day-to-day life? How do you utilize it?
Technology plays a huge part in my day-to-day life because it allows me to keep a pulse of the world, that I otherwise would not be privy to. Having access to real-time issues allows me to stay current, which enables me to continue to develop my brand while addressing new and relevant issues.
Please define your personal brand.
I define my personal brand as being inspiring, healing, and motivational, in the alignment of transforming mother-daughter relationships.
What is your favorite vacation destination and why?
My vacation spot I would have to say is Mexico, both Puerto Vallarta and Cancun are two of my favorite cities. I think both cities are beautiful, the weather is wonderful, and the beaches are amazing.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
If I could change one thing about the world it would be discrimination, inclusive of race and gender.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
If I could change one thing about myself, it would probably be my ability to be more patient, understanding that things happen as they are supposed to … relax.
What does it take to be iconic? In your estimation, who has achieved that status?
In my estimation to be iconic means that you have made a significant impact for the greater good, that will be replicated many times over for its overall value to the world. In my estimation, I would say that Martin Luther King, Jr., Barack Obama, and Nelson Mandela, were all iconic, each in the pursuit of change. Oprah Winfrey, Cicely Tyson, and Beyoncé are iconic for their contributions to entertainment that will be referenced for years to come.
Each person I listed is iconic to me for different reasons, that being said my list is not all-inclusive, but all have had a significant impact on the trajectory of our world in their respective fields.