Tara Renee Jackson was born in Durham, NC, in an area known as Black Wall Street. At sixteen, Tara gave birth to her son, Sean. She was able to graduate high school with her peers, but delayed college to raise her son. Tara ensured he did his best in school, kept him involved in athletics and church weekly. In 1996, Tara married and had a daughter, Sydni. Tara was determined to keep her children on the right track in a city that, at the time, had one of the highest crime rates in the nation. At 44 years old, Tara earned her bachelor’s degree from Shaw University, followed by a master’s from University of Mount Olive. Tara is a member of Alpha Chi, a coeducational academic honor society and chairs the Single Mother’s Ministry at Southside Church of Christ in Durham, North Carolina.
What surprises you most about being a mom?
The thing that surprises me the most about being a mom is hearing what comes out of the mouths of our children when they are young. The things they say are so adorable. Oftentimes, the sayings are not even correct, but the fact that they listen and are able to say things at any time is cute. To see the passion they have when they believe they are right and have a right to say those things. It is definitely a learning moment for children as well as parents.
In your experience, what’s the first step in tapping into our maternal energy to positively impact lives around us?
The first step to tapping into our maternal energy to positively impact lives around us is to choose our friendships wisely. Everything nowadays is about balance. There is work/life balance and then there is life. We all have strengths and weaknesses, but we may not all know how to balance them to the point where we can give back to those around us. We choose great friends to help bring balance in those areas. Having friends to encourage us is rewarding. That is why it is important, especially for women to have different relationships with various women.
What is something, big or small, you’ve accomplished that you’re proud of?
I have always stressed the importance of higher education to my children even when I did not have a college degree. When my son left school and vowed never to return, I knew I had to do something to help change his mind. I enrolled in a local university to earn my bachelor’s degree. I told him that I was doing this for him and we raced to see who would graduate first. He won. I did the same with my daughter and got my MBA. She is still in school and determined more than ever to get her degree.