Mother’s Day is a special day for most people. I work in the payments industry and it’s the biggest spending day! Even bigger than Black Friday! Imagine that!. Suffice it to say, it’s an extra special day for some very special people; mothers.
I did some research among my friends to gather info on what stands out in their minds as the greatest lesson they have learnt from their mothers. Responses were along the lines of advice on relationships, money, and life in general. I pulled all of that together as there are common threads in some. By the way, my sample was from both male and female. Some mothers are still here and making an impact, others have gone on to a better place and have left behind a lasting legacy. Below I share 10 wonderful lessons from mothers(in no particular order).
Some of us can attest to mothers who would give their last ounce of effort just to ensure that their children’s basic needs were met. They would deprive themselves, not just physically, but also of their hopes and aspirations, just so that we could have what we need to succeed. In some cases it was those extra funds to pay for the extra classes to prepare for exams, it could be that school trip, you name it.
My friend recalls how her mother(who was a teacher) used to give guided tours to visitors to the island to make extra money to pay school fees and buy school supplies. Now in today’s world that would be considered dangerous but back then she did what she had to do. No honest work was too trivial. If that’s not selfless I don’t know what is.
Generosity and Humility
Several friends recall that their mothers exemplified what it means to be kind to others, good living. Some Jamaican mothers have this “thing” where they will never allow another person to be hungry if they can help it. Even if they don’t have enough for their own children they would “stretch it” so that the neighborhood kids who don’t have enough to eat could partake.
One in particular mentioned that she didn’t know how far her mother’s kindness extended until after she passed away. She obviously left an indelible mark on others who will hopefully continue to pay it forward.
This goes hand in hand with lessons on humility. One friend recalls her mother passing on wisdom that no matter where you are in life, remain humble. You never know when you will have to look up at the person you once looked down on.
One friend got advice from her mother to be comfortable doing things her way, unapologetically. She was encouraged to embrace changing thoughts and ideas throughout the seasons of life. These changes can be far removed from what you are accustomed to, but as long as it doesn’t compromise integrity and the essence of who you are, then be open to it.
This is something that most of us mothers neglect. I am happy there are mothers out there passing this wisdom on because it is WISE!. You really do have to take care of yourself first and that naturally extends to the people around you. If you are stressed out and frazzled, you emit those vibes and your efforts are thwarted despite your best intentions. Advice is to practice self care. You cannot pour from an empty cup! Or worse yet, you might be pouring negativity making a bad situation worse.
Importance of Prayer
For those of you who are people of faith, this is very important. My friend said her mother taught her to pray about EVERYTHING. This is a tough one for most people because we start looking for solutions and stressing before we seek the help we truly need. We really need to change the order and pray first, then work. Concept here is that we will be guided in the way we should go. Even if we fail in the moment, there is a lesson in it and that’s where faith comes in.
Finding True Love
Another friend recounts how her grandmother, who was her main caregiver drilled into her the need to find true love. This extended to the relationships she sought and tried to maintain through out her life. She never allowed herself to settle if that main ingredient was not present.
Keeping Private Things Private(Don’t Overshare)
This one I found very interesting. One person shared that his mother taught him not to overshare. I didn’t get it at first but here is the essence of it. You know as children when you visit your friends house, or even at school; sometimes other adults will give kids the third degree to find out about details about their parents and home situation. I know it’s kinda unfair but it happens. So his mother told him not to allow himself to be questioned in that way.
Patience and Perseverance
Another friend recalls that his mother not only taught him the importance of patience and perseverance in life but exemplified it. She taught him the importance of waiting and putting the effort into anything worth having. His wife remembers her mother saying “Bird fly too fast, fly past dem nest” [Translation: Be patient, some things just take time].
I remember my own mother, who delayed furthering her education until both my brother and myself were further along with ours. She and I ended up at the same university and the same time. We got our bachelors’ degrees within a year of each other.
One person said whenever she wanted to sleep and not study her mother would sing in her ear “The heights by great mean reached and kept were no attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept were toiling upwards in the night”. So apt!!
Being content with what you have
My cousins recall how much my aunt would tell them not to be “red eye”. For those of you who are not familiar with the term it simply means not to begrudge others for what they have. My own mother would say to us that if you are “red eye”, you would be willing to do anything to get it(and not in a good way). My grandmother would also tell us not to envy other people because you don’t now what they had to do to get it. For example, you see that nice couple who seems to be living the life, multiple cars and that expensive house with the pool. It might have been gotten by illegal means, things you yourself would not be willing to do.
Bottom line is, “if you want good yuh nose haffi run”. [Translation: you can accomplish what you want if you are willing to put in the work.]
My friend recalls that things were pretty rough financially for her single mom raising 6 children. Her mother consistently reminded them that this was not their final destination. This led them to strive to succeed. Now she and her siblings have succeeded in their various fields, testament to values passed from their mother.
She also added that laughter was what helped them through some of the tough times.
There is so much more to share. I might need to do a part 2. As I collected all these messages and tidbits from my friends, the most common theme I noticed was that many of them said that their mother never really sat them down and told them these things but rather led by example. If there ever was a take-away from this, it would be that we are the screen of our children’s lives. They watch us. We cannot say one thing and do the other, it cannot be “do as I say but not as I do”. Your lives are a living example and will make the biggest impact on your children.
I am happy that so many of my friends and family have positive role models after which to fashion their own lives and will extend to their own parenting. I know I can attest to the influence of my own parents and extended family in shaping who I am. And I am grateful for that. I have seen the product of what it’s like to be devoid of positive influence in one’s life. Those of us who can, let’s pay it forward. Share the positivity, even if it’s just to our own children. Never forget the lessons!
Please comment and share your experiences below. We’d love to hear from you!