With Mother’s Day approaching, I’d like to reflect on three invaluable life lessons I learned from my mother.
But first, I’ll mention that next month it will be eleven years since she left us. Last year, I reprinted the eulogy given at her funeral. I miss my mother. But I’m the person I am today because of these three very important life lessons that she lovingly and generously gave me: independence; making choices; and responsibility.
Thanks, Mom! I love you and miss you!
3 Life Lessons I Learned from My Mother
My mother often told the story of how her mother, my Grandmom McKenna, was fiercely protective and controlling while her children lived in the family home. But once Grandmom McKenna’s children moved out, they were 100% on their own. They were then totally independent.
Possibly because of Mom’s own upbringing, she raised my siblings and me to also be independent. She didn’t want to control us. She wanted us to all go off and start our own, independent lives once we reached adulthood. Different than Grandmom McKenna, who controlled completely and then cut them loose abruptly, my mother started giving me tastes of independence in small-sized bites from an early age.
2. Making Choices
My mother gave us the opportunity to make our own choices starting at a young age. For example, when we went shopping for clothes, she would always let me decide, did I like this shirt or another shirt? We didn’t have full, 100% choice, but we always got to make the final decision between two very acceptable alternatives.
My mother also stressed the importance of sleeping on important decisions. She’d say, “If it’s a good deal today, it will be a good deal tomorrow when you awake.” To this day, I often take an extra day or two to contemplate an important decision I’m about to make.
In addition to being allowed to make my own choices, I was also held accountable for the consequences of my choices.
Many times, I remember Mom explaining potential outcomes from a choice I was about to make. This would cause me to rethink my alternatives. These possible outcomes, whether good or bad, represented what I was going to have to live with. I was being held responsible. I was learning personal responsibility.
Now, how wonderful were these three gifts my mother gave to me?
- I can make any choice in my life that I want.
- I only have to be responsible for that choice.
- And I am independent to create whatever life I choose to live.
All parents no doubt have a tough job.
Moms especially have a tough job.
How do they gently nudge the fledglings out of the nest?
How do they encourage their young to fly off?
How do they let go when the instinct is to hold on and protect?
Thanks Mom, for pushing me out of the nest and giving me my independence.
Thanks Mom, for teaching me how to make choices.
Thanks Mom, for holding me accountable for my choices – and making me be responsible.
And Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms of the world!
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Next Blog Date: May 14, 2012