Sunday is Mother’s Day. If your mother is still living honor her and tell her, “I love you.” If your mother has passed-on, as mine has, remember her lovingly and contemplate what valuable lessons and truths you learned from her that has helped shape the person you are today.
My mother was a vibrant and talkative woman who never saw a stranger. She was an avid reader and loved to pen her thoughts on paper in the form of poetry. Her laugh was contagious. Her journey on earth spanned 82 years, ending nearly twenty years ago in November 1999. The qualities that made up who she was were stolen from her the last two years of her fruitful life by that heartless thief known as Alzheimer’s disease.
As I contemplate the truths I learned from my mother, I would like to share twenty lessons and truths that she sought to instill in me that have helped shape who I am today.
She taught me to be truthful and honest when dealing with others. If one is not truthful it will come back to haunt you because you have to remember what you said; and, worse, you will lose the respect of others.
She taught me to eat my vegetables, especially my green beans, because they are good for you. I still remember the lecture I got because I said I didn’t like green beans. I can’t eat green beans today without her voice echoing in my ears about how lucky I am to have something to eat and that there are those who have no food at all who would be thankful to eat them!
She taught me to not chew gum in church, school, and the library. Those were places that demanded my respect. Now into my sixth decade of life I still can’t bring myself to chew gum in those three places.
She taught me to seek not to be selfish because the world doesn’t revolve around me. When we think of others, we are happier than when we only think of ourselves.
She taught me to try and help someone during the day through an encouraging word, a smile, sharing a laugh, or a kind deed. You will not only bless someone else but you, as well, will receive a blessing.
She taught me to respectfully stand when the National Anthem was being played. I am to show respect and admiration for the flag and what it stands for. People died that the flag might fly, and I am to honor her. To this day I still get chills every time I hear sung the National Anthem.
She taught me not to be part of the crowd just to be a part of them, but to stand on my convictions even if it means to stand alone. As a minister I am thankful that lesson was instilled in me, because there are times when standing for the truth I may stand alone.
She taught me to be courteous and polite to others if I expect them to be courteous and polite to me. To say “Please” and “Thank You” and words you can’t use too much.
She taught me to do right because it is the right thing to do. You don’t do right just when someone is watching or because you “feel” like it, you do right because that is what you are supposed to do.
She taught me not to give up when undertaking a task. If I failed, she taught me to regroup and keep trying until I succeeded. If you want something out of life it must be earned not handed to you.
She taught me to watch the company I kept because who I hung around would shape who I became. She told me if I hung around skunks, I would smell like one. That was good advice when I went off to college in the hippie era and drugs and alcohol were easily accessible.
She taught me to respect others even if I didn’t agree with them, and if I couldn’t to turn and walk away. I have done my best to do that, and, yes, there have been many times I have had to walk away!
She taught me not to spend more than I make. Always save at least a dime out of every dollar. Don’t become a slave to debt by buying things you can’t afford. That has been good advice I am glad I have heeded through the years. The government should heed my mother’s advice!!
She taught me to keep up with current events so as to be an intelligent American citizen. Don’t be an uninformed citizen but one who knows what is going on so you can be part of the solution to make society better.
She taught me to vote. She never told me how to vote, but to intelligently examine each candidate and make a wise decision based upon my moral and biblical convictions. I can still hear her say, “If you don’t vote you have no right to complain.”
She taught me to read. My mother was an avid reader. She would devour the Reader’s Digest, which was her favorite, but she was widely read. The vocation I followed in life requires I constantly read, and I enjoy reading history, philosophy, theology, poetry, and anything that will expand the horizons of my mind.
She taught me after entering the ministry that each time I preached I was not to draw attention to myself, but the focus was to be on Christ. I have on many occasions heard the echo of her voice, “It is not about you, it’s about Jesus.”
She taught me that if I have problems there is a Heavenly Father above who is available to help give me strength and help me through life. She believed His strength is available to all if they simply ask Him.
She taught me not to jump to conclusions when someone acted or reacted out of character for what is normal behavior for them. There could be something going on in their lives unknown to me or others that caused them to respond or act the way they did. There have been times when this advice has proven wise in dealing with someone.
She taught me if you want to die a righteous death you must live a righteous life. She taught me that by the example of a life well lived. While I hope I have many more years to go, I hope I can emulate her example by a life lived in like manner.
Yes, my mother taught me many valuable lessons and truths. While I am still trying to incorporate them all into my life, I am most thankful I had a mother who sought to instill them in me.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY.