Forget Kindergarten… I never went. Everything I learned about being a mom I learned from my mom. As a kid, I did my best to listen to her, watch her, and sometimes challenge her. As I started my own motherhood adventure I looked to what I learned from her about what real mothering was… what real love looks like.
I have never met anyone like my mom. As long as I can remember, my mom has always been strong and brave and independent. Over the years I have learned so much from her humble wisdom. I learned many great lessons from her over the years. Here are a few of those lessons (sorry it’s little jumbled, I just write them as they pop into my mind):
- Admit mistakes. It would be wrong to claim that my mom was perfect. She made a few mistakes… and she was willing to admit it… and then work on fixing it. Learn from your mistake and they will become great experiences.
- Love to learn and love education. Many years after I left home, my mom went back to school and because a public school music teacher. However, she was a teacher long before the state gave her the licence to teach. By third grade I could not read. My mom took matters into her own hands one Christmas break. By the time I went back to school after the Christmas break I was reading. Not only was I reading, I read beyond the third grade level. I became a avid reader (she is too). I read and read after that. I also learned to appreciate the time, energy, commitment, and care that teachers show every single day. My mom taught me that an education is an investment in opportunity, self-confidence and a sacred value. An education should not be taken for granted.
- Be present. There is something to be said for just showing up and being present for others. Oh the thousands of ball games, concerts and recitals you have attended. Being present matters.
- Assist those in need. One particular experience sticks out in my mind. We didn’t have much, but my mom made a cake and took it to a family. At first I didn’t get why she would give a yummy cake away while we had bean soup waiting for us at home. However, she taught me that it is best to give our best to those who are in need. She taught me to be quick to help. She taught me to give the most when I feel I have the least to give.She taught me that real living was about giving. She taught me that the truest life, fulfillment, meaning, and joy is found in serving others.
- Garbage in. Garbage out.
- Don’t throw your trash in my backyard, my backyard is full.
- Clean up after yourself.
- Keep your nose clean.
- Attend church and love God. True worship has always and continues to be important to my mom. You taught me to listen for the answers, that if I am quiet enough, I will hear the answer that is right for me.
- Have faith. A person is much happier when they look for the light in the midst of the darkest days. There is good and bad in everything. Life is messy and that is what makes it perfect to grow and develop faith.
- Be content with little. We really didn’t have much. I shared a room with my siblings nearly my whole life. Money was tight. But my mom appeared content. I never really knew how tight things were until the day she ask me to read the bills, write the checks, and ready things for her to just sign them before I went to the mail box to mail them for her. She was the queen of creating dinner from nothing. I swear she mastered the whole “loaves and fishes” thing. She taught me the virtues of “loaves and fishes too.
- Honesty is the best policy.
- Life isn’t easy, it isn’t fair and right doesn’t always win… and it’s okay. It may all be true, but it doesn’t excuse me from acting with humility and grace and continually doing what I can to make the world a better place.
- If you don’t like it… change it.
- Stand for what you believe in.
- Theatre is a gift for the eyes and for the heart.
- Express gratitude. Mom showed me that it was important to be thankful in the good times and in the not so good times.
- Forgive others. Wrongs happen. People make mistakes. Not granting forgiveness only harms you.
- Be compassionate and extend grace to others. Always see a piece of yourself in everyone. Learn from others.
- Trust your instincts!
- Celebrations equal family. My mom loved to throw a party for every holiday. I have such great memories of extended family sitting around the table for some great meals!
- Laugh often! Laughter is the best medicine.
- There is no limit to love. Once a child enters your life, your heart is forever extended from your body. Love is a verb.
- Value family!
- Jesus is the PLAN!
There are other mother’s that have inspired me. My mom is the mother of 7 kids. However, I know that she has impacted countless other kids, just as other great women have influenced me and influenced my own children. Teachers, aunties, and many other women in our communities are all mother’s, even if you don’t have biological children of your own. You are the educators, the protectors, and the caregivers. You are the backbone of society all helping to raise children… our future.
Thanks mom for helping me develop into the best me. I hope I have done justice to the lessons you have taught and continue to teach me!