A new study funded by England’s Economic and Social Research Council shows how profoundly children are influenced by the way their mothers talk to them in the early years. The main gift gently instructive moms impart is better social skills, particularly in later childhood, say the study authors. Evidently Pope John Paul II knew of what he spoke when he delivered his 1995 Letter to Women: “Thank you, women who are mothers! You have sheltered human beings within yourselves in a unique experience of joy and travail. This experience makes you become God’s own smile upon the newborn child, the one who guides your child’s first steps, who helps it to grow, and who is the anchor as the child makes its way along the journey of life.”