As my mom gets older, like many other moms, there seems to be a sense of urgency in passing on her lessons. Whether she’s afraid she will forget them or simply feels unheard, her goal is to make sure her children have all the information they may need in life. Afraid that we may miss something, including her story, she takes any opportunity she can to get our attention and plant these seeds of wisdom. Within each lesson and story lies an amazing opportunity to get to know her better and by taking a few moments to listen, not only do we show her that we care but we also have the chance to fill our own cup with knowledge.
In honor of amazing mothers and their lessons, here are 12 lessons my mom has shared with me over the years:
- We are all the same. My mom, a single mother in the 1970’s living in the South, taught her daughters to be accepting and loving of ALL people. She empowered us to see and respect each person regardless of race or personal choices. We lived opened-minded and open-hearted…and still do.
- You reap what you sow. One of my favorite lessons that I have written about before. The work and intention you put into life will manifest in the future. You are tending your gardens now…only you can determine if it is plentiful or barren.
- You don’t need anyone to make you happy…only you can do that. Instead of spending my youth looking for a guy to “complete me”, I was just happy and love came. What I was surprised to learn at such a young age is that love doesn’t always make you happy. Being happy makes you happy.
- If you get in the mud with the pigs, the mud is bound to come off on you. So pick your friends wisely.
- You can survive anything. “God won’t give you more than you can handle” my mom would tell me. And she was always right. I learned from each mistake and every obstacle…and not only did I survive, I am stronger for it.
- You can only teach by example, not by force. A single mom of three girls, my mother never once raised her hand to us. I am sure at times she wanted to, but she never did. She believed spanking to punish would only teach violence. Violence breeds violence and it was NEVER allowed in our home. If you really want to teach children…talk to them. Until they understand why their choice was bad, they will continue to repeat it.
- Don’t wait for a special day to wear your new coat, do it NOW! When my mother was 5 years old, she had gotten a beautiful new coat for Christmas. She was only allowed to wear it to church or special occasions. Before she could get a stain or pull a thread on the coat, her house burned down leaving them with nothing but the clothes on their backs. As I grew up, my mother encouraged me to put on my fancy coat or anything I wanted…even if I was just walking the dog. It was a great reminder to stop waiting to enjoy life.
- “You don’t have to like your sister, but you have to love her.” Growing up with two older sisters, we argued over chores, clothes, mom’s love, the telephone…pretty much anything. No matter how loud we got, my mom would look at us and simply say, “You don’t have to like them, but have to love them.” Maybe that is why my sisters and I have always been so close. Mom understood that family was more important than anything we could ever argue about.
- Anything is possible. My mom lived this lesson…seriously! She was superwoman. My mom has always seen infinite possibilities for her daughters and because of that it has opened the world up to us. Where most would give up, my mom knew she had to push forward to be an example for her daughters, even if it meant driving a VW Bug up into the back of an UHaul truck. True story that I will have to share later!
- Trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right…don’t do it! My mom always taught us to listen to our instincts from a young age. As three daughters who got into their share of trouble, I am certain this lesson has saved us on many occasions.
- Money doesn’t make you happy. When my mother left my abusive father, she walked away from a lot of money. She was beautiful, single, had three kids and men were lining up. As they tried to shower her with Mercedes, trips around the world and money, my mom never took a single gift. Money wasn’t important. She knew that how you treat each other is all that matters. My father had millions from the business he and my mother created, yet he only gave her a little over $200 a month in child support…courtesy of the judge he paid off. However, my mom knew the money didn’t matter. She was just grateful that we were all together…and we were happy.
- You can’t see the future if you keep looking in the rearview mirror. Whether we are talking about past loves or past mistakes, my mom always knew that there was no value in lingering over the ashes. In order to thrive, you have to move on and leave the past behind you.
Do you have a special lesson passed down to you? Please share it with all of us by leaving a comment.