Today is Mother’s Day. Throughout the nation, many will have the opportunity to remember their mothers’ love and care throughout their lives. It is also a good time for all to bear in mind how crucial mothers are to their families.

The time, care, and concern that moms give to their families has the potential to impact nearly every part of their children’s lives, from educational achievement to emotional well-being. These all influence not only the route that a child’s future will take but also the potential well-being of communities and the nation.

Parents are a child’s first educators, and research confirms that moms have a major influence on their children’s educational success. As Heritage’s shows, when parents are highly engaged and willing to help them with homework, children generally score higher on academic achievement, and children whose parents are more involved with their education when in elementary school have a greater likelihood of graduating from high school.

The reach of mothers extends beyond academics. Youth whose mothers discuss the social and moral consequences of sexual activity are more likely to choose abstinence. Teens whose parents monitor them are also more likely to remain abstinent.

Mothers also play an important role in helping their children avoid substance abuse. Children who report that their moms spend time conveying values and standards are less likely to use alcohol.

But influence isn’t limited to what mothers talk about with their children. Moms who have dinner with their kids five to seven times a week have a greater impact on discouraging alcohol and drug use among their children.

The range of a mother’s influence also extends to her family’s emotional health and wellness. Teens whose parents (usually mothers) are present at crucial times during the day—when they wake up, come home from school, and go to bed—are less likely to experience emotional distress.

Say an extra thank-you to mothers this Sunday, because they matter in helping children become happy, healthy adults.