2020-2021 President’s Message

Diane Eckols’ President’s Message April 16, 2020   

As many of you know, my son, James is Class of ’17 and attended Texas A&M University Galveston Campus. As a nod to him and Galveston, I chose a lighthouse to represent my year. To me, a lighthouse represents hope, a light in the storm, a direction to foreign destinations, and a beacon home. We all have many lighthouses in our lives; friends, loved ones, mentors, and strangers can all be a light of hope. Our students can find beacons all over campus and most importantly, they can always come home. As President George H. W. Bush talked about the thousand points of light, I see light every time I am in the presence of you. Our Aggie Moms have been united since the first clubs started in 1922. Because these moms shined brightly for our Aggies and each other, the light grew. The Federation was created in 1928 to help grow the light. Now there are over 6,500 lights which represent Aggie Moms shining brightly across the state and even the country. I see the light when an Aggie gets hurt in Colorado on spring break and Moms step up to care for him and his family when they are miles away from home. I see it in the Facebook group when a Mom writes that her Aggie is struggling, and Moms shine with love and support. There’s light when a student feeling hopeless reaches out for help.
Three lessons I have learned from lighthouses are:

1.   Sometimes you need to let go – When James was three years old we took a family trip to the outer banks of North Carolina, the land of Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, and Duck. Obviously, we had to visit one of the many stately lighthouses. We ventured to the northern most Currituck Lighthouse, paid our entrance fee, and started the climb to the top. At first, I was so excited to start our climb! It was only after beginning the climb my excitement grew to fear, because I suddenly remembered I was afraid of heights. We have a video Kris took with the old VHS-c camera. He panned the beautiful shoreline and little Jimmy standing on the ledge. Finally he panned to me, and I was plastered to the center wall of the lighthouse in fear, frantically calling “Jimmy, come here!” … and yes, it was pretty useless calling to Jimmy. That day, and countless other times, I learned we have to let go and allow our kids to find their own way.

2.   Sometimes you need to move your lighthouse – Every Thanksgiving we made the pilgrimage to Hatteras Island. It was a time to go surf fishing for stripers doing the Hatteras Shuffle at the point in the shadow of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1870, and at that time, was a safe 150 yards from the shore. Through years of storms and erosion, the beach came to meet the lighthouse. Eventually the decision was made to move it inland to protect it from falling to the storm surge. In 1999, the 4,830-ton Hatteras Lighthouse standing 193 feet tall, was raised off its foundation and moved 2,900 feet so it could continue to safely shine. When changes are necessary, remember it’s important to move the lighthouse.

3.   Shine your light – In the days of old, a lighthouse wasn’t self-sustaining, it had a lightkeeper to maintain the light. As the steward of the lighthouse, it was the job of the lightkeeper to ensure ships could find safe passage. Today every lighthouse in the United States is automated except one. We are like that one lighthouse….it is our responsibility to shine for all Aggie Moms and our Aggies. Not because we own the lighthouse or because it is our legacy, but because it is our job to be enduring stewards of this beautiful light.
This brings me to my theme of Aggie Moms – Shining Together. As Aggie Moms, we need to shine for each other which means celebrating the triumphs and caring during the challenges. Building instead of tearing down. Being supportive in good times and bad. Listening to each other, opening our hearts, being present for each other.
Thank you for allowing me to be the steward of the Federation of Texas A&M University Mothers’ Clubs for 2020-2021. Thank you to the moms and mentors who came before me. Thank you to the wonderful women serving on the board with me. Thank you to my husband, Kris, for your patience with all my Aggie Mom endeavors. Most of all, thank you James for making me the loudest and proudest Aggie Mom. Whoop!