Sunday, May 8, 2011

Everything I Need to Know I learned...

from my mom! (Some of it I had learned before I even began kindergarten...but other lessons were learned years later...and some are still being learned!)

My mom taught me to read. Long before I started kindergarten she made flashcards of all our family member's names and of high frequency words and practiced with them until I knew them. She read to me daily and took us on regular trips to the public library. I credit not only my ability to read but my love of reading to my mom.

My mom taught me to have patience...and she taught by example. My mom is the most patient person I know. I literally can only remember one time in my life that she raised her voice at all. She did not allow little things to frustrate her or make her lose her temper. Whenever I lose my temper I think of my own childhood and how peaceful it felt because wasn't yelled at and I apologize to my own children and try to be a little more like my mom.
(My mom, my sister Suzy, and I are holding my girls.)

My mom taught me to have faith. I have a letter she wrote me after my parents divorce. She said in this letter that one day she was feeling very discouraged and alone and knelt to pray. The spirit whispered to her that everything would be okay. She said she wasn't sure what that meant, but she knew it was true. She had faith that the Lord would keep His promises. That knowledge that the Lord is there and listening and that eventually things will be okay ...knowing that my mom believed it helped me to believe it and develop faith of my own which has helped me through difficult times.

My mom taught me to forgive. I've rarely heard my mom speak unkindly of others. Even when others have done hurtful things to my mom, she is quick to forgive. When my parents divorced, she could have been bitter and angry toward my dad. But she chose instead to forgive. This is perhaps the greatest lesson she has taught. I'm sure I've never been hurt to that extent, but when I have been I have done my best to follow her example and to try to let go of the hurt and anger and forgive. This can be hard, but she taught me that when you hold on to anger and resentment the person you hurt the most is yourself. Anger brings unhappiness, but forgiveness brings peace.

My mom taught me to work hard. My mom worked full time. She raised 3 girls. She nearly always had a small garden in the unforgiving, hot Arizona sun, in areas with poor soil. (I can't even grow a garden here where the soil and weather are much more I find this especially impressive! :)) She also served faithfully in the church wherever she was called.

My mom always made me feel important. Even though she worked full time most of my life, I always knew my sisters and I were her number one priority. She listened to us, she read to us, played with us, and devoted her life to us.

My mom taught me to listen. My mom is not a big talker. She is fairly quiet and reserved. But she is a wonderful listener. I would like to become a better listener than I am.

So much of who I am and who I want to be is influenced by my mother. Mom, I love you! You are not perfect--but you are and were the perfect mother for me!