My mom died more than 30 years ago, but I still feel her with me every day. Sometimes when I open my mouth to speak, her words come out. And that makes me smile.
Mothers aren’t perfect, but in their imperfect humanness, they are amazing founts of wisdom. I love reflecting on the things my mother taught me. Some of my favorites (in no particular order):
Be kind. There’s simply no reason to be any other way.
Never offer to do something you don’t truly want to do. She used to say that if you offer to do someone a favor that you really don’t want to do, hoping they’ll decline but you’ll look good for having offered, you deserve to get taken up on it.
Tell the truth. You’ll never have to remember what you said to whom if you always tell the truth.
When you’re wrong, admit it and apologize. Don’t try to justify what you did, don’t make excuses.
Listen. Respect the opinions of others. Listen to them with the goal of understanding and learning.
Think before you speak. Take the time to consider whether what you’re going to say actually needs to be said or if it can be said in a more tactful way. I confess that I don’t do this as well or as often as she would have hoped, but I try.
Use your head. Especially when I was a teenager, I can’t count the number of times I heard my mother say, “That round thing on your shoulders isn’t there for a decoration. Use it!”
The world doesn’t revolve around you. I so hoped she was wrong about this. She wasn’t.
Believe people are good until they give you a reason to believe otherwise. When you expect the best out of people, you’re more likely to get it. I’m sure she learned this from her mother, my wonderful grandmother, who also often said …
Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me. This was my grandmother’s way of saying that we should trust people but we also have a responsibility to protect ourselves from people who have demonstrated harmful intentions.