In this story, Mama's parenting is effective because the right daughter ends up finally receiving the recognition she deserves. It seems as though Mama has spent a lot of time getting Dee the things she wants and dreaming of being enough to satisfy (and not embarrass) her worldly daughter. Humble Maggie has been left somewhat in the shadows. Toward the end of the story, when Dee insists that she get to take the family quilts—quilts she actually rejected when she went off to school—Mama has a sort of epiphany. She recalls,
When I looked at her like that something hit me in the top of my head and ran down to the soles of my feet. Just like when I'm in church and the spirit of God touches me and I get happy and shout. I did something I never done before: hugged Maggie to me, then dragged her on into the room, snatched the quilts out of Miss Wangero's hands and dumped them into Maggie's lap.
Mama finally seems to understand that Maggie has never felt special or deserving in the way her sister seems to have always felt. She recognizes that Maggie truly deserves the quilts because she's the one who truly appreciates the quilts, uses them, and knows her heritage; Dee only seems to want the quilts in order to show them off. She doesn't know the stories the way Maggie does. Finally, Mama rewards Maggie by giving her all the quilts and denying them to the less-appreciative and somewhat exploitative Dee.