It seems arrogant to think that anything I might say would be wise enough to impact another person. I have my insights and perspectives but I often imagine people reading these posts and think, “there he goes again….” But there are so many adages that I have heard and it may be better to share a few of those things my mom used to say; they changed my life, obviously. I sure miss my mom and maybe revisiting a few of her favorite phrases might help me continue to be the man that she wanted me to be.
Being angry at someone is like throwing a hot coal, you’re the first one burned and usually a lot worse than the other person. Mom couldn’t be more right, she borrowed this from Buddhist wisdom, I don’t know if she knew that, but I have to give credit where credit is due. Buddha was a little (2500 years) before my mom’s time. But the point is timeless. We all have the base emotions, but dwelling in anger or other negative emotions is pointless. The experience of life is about suffering hardship and growing from them. Without the growing, life is just suffering, and that is pointless.
Imagine what people will say about you when your gone, than live backwards and give them reason to say it. Mom always had long distance vision. It was the “right now” stuff that she had problems with. Every morning we drove to school together, my school was far away from home and she dropped me on the way to work. She always had some loaded conversation starter ready to combat any silence. One time she asked me what would be written on my tombstone. I was about 12ish, so that didn’t freak me out too bad. But it made me think a lot. What would I want it to say, for all eternity? (or until the stone breaks). I used to say that I wanted it to read “Finally some sleep.”But if I could choose now I would write “OK, What’s Next?” What would you want your’s to say? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts.
She had two that, to me, meant the same: “A rising tide lifts all ships” and ” If everyone swept in front of their own house, the whole street would be clean.” Mom said, we all have responsibility to make the world a better place, and in doing so we make it better for ourselves. What a lovely way to be selfish. I live by these words everyday. In fact I originally got involved in being a consultant to other gymnastics businesses because I believe that if I can affect the tide, I can grow my own business. If all children’s businesses get better, mine will too. Is there a way that we can practice that on a day to day level in our lives? Easily right? Just be nice.
As a kid I never danced at weddings because I was self conscious and didn’t want to embarrass myself. She would say to me “You stand out more by not dancing than if you just had fun and didn’t care what anyone else thought.” She was right there too, but that one confused meas a kid. I thought that maybe it meant that I should go along so I didn’t stand out too much. But those of you who knew me in my youth, from mowaks to my choice of sports, I pretty much was solo. A lot. As I grew I focused on the other part of the adage; I learned that worrying about what others thought of me was like worrying about the weather; if it’s going to rain, it’s going to rain. (That was from Mom too).
My mom’s birthday was April 22nd. She passed away almost 8 years ago and I miss her everyday. I was the youngest of 3 boys in a single parent home and mom learned how to parent by trial and error. My 2 brothers sometimes reflect back on mom’s fallabilities. But I remember mom as more experienced. She was an expert in my eyes and I regret that I don’t have her to draw answers from now that I am a parent. But I will always remember the things she said; each little bit of wisdom. Thanks mom, I love you, Happy Birthday.