RRP: Being a native and growing up in the Bahamas, what role has your mother played in your parenting journey?
AB: For a woman from the tiny island of San Salvador, Bahamas, my mother was amazingly fascinated with the world. She became the first woman professional photojournalist and worked at daily newspapers, the Daily Tribune and the Nassau Guardian. She also traveled immensely to Canada, France, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam. Mammy never talked about self-care; however, she left her seven children the example of prayer and meditation. When I was a child, she went to the ocean daily to commune with God and bathed her body under the early morning sun.
RRP: How do you foster a strong relationship with your children?
AB: As a child, I prayed to one day have all girls and twins. God saw fit to fulfill this request. I have four beautiful and brilliant daughters: Nuola (34), Moremi (30), and Brooke and Breanna, my almost 16-year-old fraternal twins. I don’t spend as much time as I would like with my older daughters and three grandchildren because they don’t live in Alabama. The twins, though, probably get tired of being with me! I’m at almost every tennis match and cheerleading event.
RRP: How did your influence impact your two younger daughters to establish their foundation, Women in Training, at twelve-years-old?
AB: Children are naturally compassionate. When Breanna and Brooke were very young, I noticed their deep empathy for others and their desire to relieve the suffering of any kind. I encouraged those spiritual qualities and exposed them to others with the same values. When they were three, our family moved to the United Arab Emirates for five years. There, Breanna and Brooke observed first-hand that the Arabic culture and Islamic religion highly value giving to others in need. When they were 11, Breanna and Brooke started planning their 12th birthday gift to share with the world–Women In Training.
RRP: How do you balance being a mom and serving full-time as the Women in Training Chief Engagement Officer?
AB: I have the best of both worlds! I wake up quite early, so I get myself spiritually centered, then respond to emails, plan my day, and start working on grants or other big projects before taking the girls to school. While they’re in school, I attend meetings, work with volunteers and run business errands. After school, I tend to the girls’ needs by driving them to practice or sporting events. Evenings are reserved for cooking, enjoying dinner with my family, and attending two or three committee meetings weekly via Zoom. On Saturdays, we sometimes have activities with the WIT Leadership Development Academy, or the girls have social or athletic events. I reserve Sundays for spiritual communion with my family at First United Methodist Church. We have WIT board meetings once a month on Sunday afternoons. All in all, I have a pretty balanced life. I need to increase my exercise and vitamin intake to have the strength to do it all.
RRP: How do you help your children navigate social relationships and peer pressure?
AB: Oh, my goodness! Breanna and Brooke have quite an active social life. Social media can be divisive because sometimes teenagers – and many adults – forget that there is another human being with a soul behind that photo on our cell phones. I encourage them to minimize screen time and, most importantly: “Don’t believe the hype!” Other people may project a social media image of perfection, beauty, fashion, success, and round-the-clock partying, but that is not the reality. I tell the girls to compete only with themselves for excellence.
RRP: Both of your daughters attend Montgomery Academy. How do you handle their academic or personal achievements or struggles?
AB: Breanna and Brooke are new to The Montgomery Academy. It was difficult for the girls to change schools at the beginning of their sophomore year, but without a doubt, enrolling the girls in MA was an excellent decision. They are excelling academically and are part of the tennis team. Bree also recently joined the varsity cheerleading team. My husband and I support their inherited weakness – Math – by contracting with an excellent tutor.
RRP: What is your greatest hope for your childrens’ futures?
AB: My greatest hope for my children and grandchildren is the same hope I have for this broken world: That humans of different backgrounds will learn to understand each other. We have more in common than we realize.
Adeyela Albury Bennett has been married to Bradley Bennett for 18 years. They have two daughters, Brooke and Breanna (16-year-old fraternal twins). Adeyela also has two older daughters: Nuola (34) and Moremi (30).