As I make my way through life I often reflect on the things that my mother told me. At the time they were taught, I didn’t really appreciate what was said, but their true and deeper meaning hit me later. I guarantee!
When I was a child, Mom would often have some treat for us. We would all crowd around her saying me first, me first.
Then one day she said to us. “I don’t think it is nice for you to say me first. From now on, I am going to give the first treat out to the one that says me last.”
We all hesitated, but then we all started to say me last.
I learned that it didn’t matter if I was first or last, I was given a treat.
While growing up the radio and or TV was often tuned to the news. We would often hear politicians and individuals criticizing someone or something. At times Mom would shake her head and say, “Anyone can criticize, but it takes a truly intelligent and creative person to find a solution.”
Another thing that mom taught me was to try to look for the good in others, something I am still trying to master.
While growing up, I would from time to time have a fellow student at school that was just making life miserable.
I would express my dislike of that student to Mom and she would say, “You can always find good in someone if you look for it.”
My response was often, “Sure Mom, but you don’t understand.”
I had the opportunity to understand Mom’s guidance when I served a mission for our church. I had a companion that wouldn’t follow the rules and was just hard to get along with. I felt like I couldn’t get anything done, because I was always waiting for him. For a while I was very frustrated. I would express my frustration to him and we would argue. However, nothing ever changed. As I tried to figure out how to deal with the situation, I could hear Mom say to me “look for the good in others” and “you can always find good in someone if you look for it.” I didn’t want to hear those words but they kept running through my mind.
Finally I decided to try to practice what she told me and within a few days my situation completely changed. I learned that if I was careful, I could learn from almost anyone.
Mom would often say that “if you swear you are just showing that you have a limited vocabulary.” Swearing was easy. Trust me, when you are dealing with an ornery cow, swearing was really easy. As I have gotten older, I find that it is not very satisfying and I have tried to come up with creative ways to express my frustration. Some of these ways have brought laughter and a better feeling to an otherwise maddening situation.
Thanks Mom for all that you taught me.
Perhaps some day I will understand the value in all that you have said.