This week, in honor of Mothers’ Day, I wanted to share with you some powerful lessons I’ve learned from the woman who brought me into the world. Some were intentional lessons, some passed on through demonstration, but all have impacted my life and made me the person I am today.
I know that celebrations like this can bring up hard feelings for many people. Not all mums were as amazing as mine, and some who were left our lives too soon. It’s because of the lost mums and sick mums, angry mums and absent mums that I want to share the goodness of mine. I could write a book from all the impactful life lessons she’s shared, but for now here are
7 Things I’ve Learned from My Mum
1. Listening is an active process.
My mum is probably the best listener I’ve ever met. I love talking to her. I feel heard, like she knows what I’m feeling. I know she’s on my side, and she’s invested in knowing how it turns out. She makes me feel like I can handle it, like things aren’t so hard, and like the world was dumb for picking on me. Long before I went to trainings and took classes on how to do it right, my mum was showing me the power of active listening. My every school story, creative idea, movie review and new song lyric has been received by my mother with rapt attention, responsive facial expressions and empathic replies. It’s a simple thing, but in a world of distraction it’s become rare and precious and I’m forever grateful that my mum is such a brilliant listener.
2. Hurt people hurt people.
We all come across people in our lives who seem to be out to get us; people who seem to want to bring harm or pain or frustration to us. When I would ask my mum why people were making fun of me, mocking me, leaving me out of activities or seemed to be bent on causing me pain, she would empathize then softly remind me. The people who dish out the most hurt are usually the people who have experienced the most hurt in their lives. Knowing the pain that causes others to lash out at me has given me the power to forgive when I’d rather get revenge, and the ability to move on when holding a grudge has seemed so much more logical.
3. Your individuality is worth protecting.
For me, it was my right to wear mismatched socks just for the fun of it. For you it might hardcore appreciation of banjo music. Or just being pale in the summertime. Maybe you’re nutty and don’t drink coffee or watch Game of Thrones or follow a single sport or have the internet. Maybe you wear frilly dresses or zip-off cargo pants, and you only listen to classical composers and only watch monster truck rallies. What a beautiful thing that is. Give anyone who says otherwise a big “phooey” from my mum.
4. God never brings you through something He won’t use in you later.
This truth felt like a real beginning of so many mindset changes for me. Whether I was frustrated with Algebra homework, learning how to sew, losing someone close to me, being laughed at for my attempts at speaking in Spanish or mocked for my faith, my mum has always reminded me that the things we go through in life are valuable experience for what’s coming next.
5. There are many ways to be intelligent, and they’re all valuable.
As a homeschool advisor my mum got to see all kinds of incredible kids and their intelligences. Kids who helped run construction companies, became underwater welders, raised chickens, clothed their families, designed new bridges, and wrote music. It was hard not to feel inconsequential in a line-up like that. My mom was always quick to help me balance that with a healthy reminder of my own brand of intelligence, my own contribution to the world. We can’t all be underwater welders and astrophysicists, and I’m really glad for that.
6. Creative expression is for everyone.
I was 6 when I learned about abstract art. My mum was visiting my Kindergarten class as a special guest art teacher and we were scratching the black coating off of crayon covered paper. I added every color imaginable to mine and couldn’t wait to scratch off the boring black covering. I went to town and only later realized that I was supposed to be making a design. Seeing how disappointed I was in myself and how everyone had started to laugh and mock, my mum came over and made the pronouncement that would forever change my thoughts about creative endeavors: “It’s abstract art!”. Just like that. This isn’t junk, it’s a beautiful colorful thing that you decided to create! It’s not a specific shape and it doesn’t look like anyone else’s, but you made what you felt and that’s beautiful. Your creative expression doesn’t have to compare to anyone else’s, it’s yours and that’s good. I have to remember it every time I get out my watercolors or sketchbook, but it makes all the difference.
7. Life is one big adventure.
My mum is a great adventurer. We’ve spent hours taking the wrong rode just for fun, striking out on an unknown path to an unknown destination, and meandering around new places to see what we can find. She’s an explorer who loves to load up and take off into the unknown looking for a nice beach or mountain to climb or sandwich shop to try. She taught me to see the world as opportunities waiting to be taken, millions of places to see and things to do, an adventure where your new favorite thing might be just around the corner. You just have to make time to make it happen!
From the daughter of a wonderful woman who taught me all this and more and is still teaching me every day, I wish you a happy Mothers’ Day ❤
If you want to hear more about things I’ve learned from my family check out this post of 7 Random Truths I’ve Learned from My Husband.