My mom is a no-nonsense kind of person who speaks the truth, always providing an honest answer when you ask for her advice and opinion. I know that if I need a level-headed, objective viewpoint on an issue, my mom is the one to go to. Additionally, if my mom tells me I’m good at something, I know it must be true because she doesn’t want to see my brother or me wasting our time pursuing something for which we possess little to no aptitude when we could be utilizing our talents elsewhere in a more productive manner. She has always been my biggest cheerleader – and I know that her support is always sincere. She is not overly sentimental, but she did write a beautiful, heart-felt essay last year for my “In Celebration of Mothers” series. While the subject of her praise was none other than her daughter (that would be me!), it is only fair to point out that all the traits my mom recognized in me are the same mothering characteristics that she possesses and I came to take for granted – and then later appreciate. My mom is adventurous, kind, loving, accepting, curious, intelligent, well-spoken, and fun. In short, she is all the things I have always wanted to be as an adult.
Because of her strength, honesty, and integrity, I learned from an early age to heed her advice. Here are just a few of the gems she taught me, things that I have passed on to my own kids and I hope you, too, will find useful in your own parenting journey.
- “Treat others the way you want them to treat you.” (I know, duh, right? But, seriously, how many of us remind our kids about the Golden Rule these days? My mom drilled it into our heads while we were growing up and I’m glad she did.)
- “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” (Hello, all you Facebookers who like to post nasty political commentary. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you don’t know any better because Terry Thornton wasn’t your mom. But now you know, so stop it.)
- “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” (These words guide my actions almost daily. Except when debating on whether or not to make a Starbucks run. Whenever you can go to Starbucks, you should. Sorry, Mom.)
- “Show up for work early and ready to do your job. I don’t care how bad you feel. There are at least ten other people out there who need your job more than you do, be thankful someone gave you such a wonderful opportunity.” (She told me this when I took my first job as a cashier at the local Winn-Dixie. My work ethic still reflects this advice today.)
- “Nothing is more important than your education.”
- “Money can’t buy you happiness – but it does make it easier to pay the bills. Get an education so you can get a good job.”
- “Your brother is just trying to aggravate you. Ignore him, he’ll outgrow it.” (OK, she may have been a little too lenient on this one. He always knew he could get away with driving me crazy. Just ask him.)
- “Always remember to save for a rainy day. You never know what life will throw at you.”
- “Do it right the first time. It will save you so much energy in the long run.” (Especially when you are the one assigned to hand wash the dishes every night. Trust me, getting caught putting a dirty dish in the cabinet and then told to wash every dish, pot, and pan in the kitchen all over again is a very lengthy and tedious job. Yes, I speak from experience here.)
- “Do yourself a favor and always tell the truth. A lie is just too hard to keep going.”
And, lastly, my personal favorite, “Pick that up. We do not have a maid in this house.”
Thank you, Mom, for teaching me how to be a responsible, compassionate, caring, thoughtful, and grateful human being. Truly, all my good qualities came from you. (Of course, on Father’s Day I’ll find some to attribute to Dad, just to be fair.)