photo credit: laurenfarmer
A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. – Tenneva Jordan
If you scoured the entire Earth looking for someone who has shown more kindness to you than your own mother you would be gone a long time. Such a person does not exist. Your mother cared for you while you were in her stomach, gave birth to you, fed and raised you to become the person you are today. No body comes even close to her in terms of love and compassion. And over the years she has taught us many things, some helpful, some not so helpful. Here are a few life lessons that your mom was right about.
1. It could be worse
Of all the things your mom said to you as a kid this is one of the most valuable. Hidden inside these four words is a wealth of wisdom that has been somewhat obscured due to the popular nature of the saying. In fact, when your mom said this to you it was often at a time when you felt pretty terrible. And so you ignored her. I’ll never forget when my little brother broke his arm my mom calmly announced that “it could be worse” and to basically get it together. She was right. It could have been worse.
The reason this saying is so important is because it teaches two things that are essential to your life, calmness and compassion. When you think about how much worse your bad situation could be you realize that there is no point getting all worked up. But you also start to think about those other people out there in that “worse” predicament and feel sorry for them. It is a very powerful tool.
2. The proof will be in the pudding
As if on a timer, my mom would say “the proof will be in the pudding” every year about three weeks before school report cards went out. It was around this time that she started to get nervous that my brother and I had been playing too much soccer and not doing enough homework. So she would subtly let us know that even though we said we were working hard, the real proof would be the grades on that card. And for some reason it scared the hell out of me!
There are a lot of people in this world who are good at talking. They are good at spinning a few words together and getting out of a predicament. In a similar way, there are a lot of people who are good at making excuses. But the proof will be in the pudding. You can convince yourself and those around you that you are working hard towards your goals or a project but unless that hard work bears fruit then you might be kidding yourself. The proof really will be in the final product.
3. I don’t care who started it, you stop it
Do you remember those times back at home when you and your brother or sister were pulling each others hair out over some stupid little argument? Do you remember how cheated you felt when mom trounced in the room and told you to stop it even though you didn’t start it? It was the worst feeling in the world. It felt like everyone was against you and that the world was completely unfair. Well, in actual fact, your mom was teaching you an extremely valuable life lesson about self control and self responsibility.
photo credit: ASingleAtom
What your mom was really saying in this situation is that she wants you to take responsibility for being the bigger person and diffuse the situation. When you put it like that you might start to see some more adult-life scenarios where it would be useful. Perhaps an argument that you are having with your father or even with your siblings again? Perhaps a colleague at work has started a fight or maybe one of your mates did something silly? Even though you might be in the right it is often extremely wise to put your pride aside and diffuse the situation.
Imagine the effect this wisdom would have on a global scale if it was put into practice by world leaders and politicians. I am not saying that everyone should just admit defeat all the time, but rather that it could be useful to put grudges aside and be the person or nation who takes steps to solving the problem instead of arguing about it.
4. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all
What a simple but powerful lesson. Imagine how many disputes around the world would be avoided if people just remembered their mothers advice. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. This saying has applications for marriages, politics, business and friendships. And it has a lot more to it than it seems.
As a kid this saying probably just meant that you shouldn’t call your little brother a dickhead. But as you grow up and get a little bit more life experience you can start to add new meanings to it. For example, saying “something nice” might not just mean a compliment but rather something that is going to add to the situation and help the people that you are speaking with. Like the Buddha said, “do not speak unless it improves on silence“. So from this point of view the saying is a lesson in helping other as well as being mindful of what one is saying.
In the business and political worlds this saying is perhaps one of the most important rules there is when dealing with other people. You never say anything bad about a business partner or a competitor because it will inevitably come back to harm your reputation. The consequences in the political world are even worse. Gossip and harsh speech can have implications for careers, national progress and even international relations. Your mom was right about this one. Unless you have something helpful, intelligent and proactive to say, don’t say anything.
5. If you don’t do it now, then when are you going to do it?
If you are a regular reader of The Daily Mind (good on you!) then you will know that I am always talking about procrastination. So much of our lives is wasted because we hate the idea of now and we love the idea of tomorrow. But when tomorrow comes and we still haven’t accomplished anything we feel regret, depression and ever so unfulfilled.
One of the sad truths about life is that you can lose it at any time. Death is certain to come but the time of its arrival is most uncertain. So you might not even have a tomorrow in order to accomplish your task. Really, if you look closely at the matter, now is all you have. Now is all you have. If you don’t do it now, when are you going to do it? What if that opportunity never comes or if you run out of time because you are too busy. Will you be filled with regrets on your deathbed?
Again, we can add a little bit more grown up meaning to a saying that your mom probably said a thousand times. Of all the lessons she taught you this is one that really needs to hit home. She is right about this one. If you don’t do it now then when are you going to do it? My guess is never.
What lessons was your mom right about?
Every mom has a myriad of different lessons for their children. It would be wonderful if you could try to remember a few and leave a comment. It would be even more fantastic if you could try to think of some examples in your adult life of when the motherly wisdom helped you out.
This article could not have come at the right moment. Today is my parents’ 51st wedding anniversary. We, (My wife and I along with my parents) celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year. My mum however due to heart complications, passed away 6 months ago. My dad is at a lost nowadays (My parents were very close). My mother used to wait to have lunch with me even if I’m 3 to 4 hours late due to my tardiness. I have been sarcastic at times saying something like “Why must you wait? If you’re hungry you eat, if I’m hungry I eat.” At times I say so because I did not want her to stay hungry for long because of me.
One day, when my mother had her first heart attack, she was hospitalised. When I came back late to have my dinner, I saw a piece of chicken wing which both my mum and I were playfully pushing onto each other’s plate during lunch so that the other person could enjoy it. My mum won in the end. I cried the whole night.
Now that she’s gone, I realise how her waiting for me means so much. Nowadays when I eat alone, I cry thinking of my mum, who ignored her own hunger, to wait and eat with me. That’s mother’s love. I appreciate all my meals nowadays.
Richard | RichardShelmerdine.com
It can always be worse that is so true. Do you ever think genuinely that you are the most worse off person in the ENTIRE world? There is a human being out there somewhere suffering more than you. Chances are that if you are on this site your life is fantastical compared to theirs.
oh this is lovely…my mum died 3 years ago and i always remember her saying if you couldn’t find an alternative to a swear word you were not very inventive. i didn’t always agree and I swear a LOT – but i think i shall be finding some alternatives for her today..:)
The Daily Minder
I’m sorry to hear about your loss Sarah. Thank you so much for sharing.
“Everything in moderation.” Food, alcohol, sleep, TV, everything. As long as you don’t overdo, you’ll keep your life in balance.
I love this article, but unfortunately, not all mothers are like this at all. Mine definitely was not. Thankfully, however, I became a good mom and could relate to the opening definition about the pie, so cute. Thanks.
My mother used to tell me that sticks and stones could break my bones but names could never hurt me. I don’t think she was right there, do you?
I think that was just our Moms’ way of trying to make us feel better. I agree with you – sticks and stones can break your bones and names can break your heart.
I think she was saying not to equate physical pain with emotional pain, which you can learn to transcend. Aikido teaches that you can deflect both physical assault and that with proper “training” you can learn to deflect emotional assault as well. Be well.
My mom used to always tell me, “This too shall pass.” Every time I’m having a problem or I get scared that something good will come to an end, I remember those words and I tell myself, ‘This too shall pass.’ Those words inspire me to utilize my time more effectively and treasure life with the knowledge that it is fleeting!
My grandmother set a truly terrible example for my mom and somehow my mom rose above it and is incredibly awesome! She is very wise and amazingly open about her mistakes and triumphs in life. I know it too will pass, but I love her dearly and I can’t help but hope that she’ll be around forever!
Why did I get such a scary face in my picture?!
My mum died a long time ago so this advice here came at a right time…I’m graduating soon, so it’s quite stressful, MY dad’s health is not great so I’m afraid of losing him as well,I feel alone and afraid about the future and accepting uncertainty, so these pages are helping me a great deal. Thank you daily mind and all beautiful people who are sharing their thoughts here.
The Daily Minder
Ha Ha. Those things are stupid aren’t they?
You can go to Gravatar.com and sign up for an account. That way, whenever you leave a comment on my blog or ANY other blog and you use the same email you can have a picture of yourself or whatever you want.
I’ve got to say, I usually like reading the stuff on this site but this bugged me. Some of us DIDN’T have sweet mothers and for some, it would be VERY easy to find another person who cared more for us than our mothers. Not every female who has a child is a sweet, nurturing and loving person. Some are toxic people who are toxic to their children. I didn’t even bother reading the rest of this article after the first paragraph, or anything else on the site today because of it. It hurts that generalizations are used here and also hurts that the author is not capable of stepping into others shoes or even caring to….just my thought.
The Daily Minder
I am sorry the subject of the article upset you. I realize I made a generalization but I also realize that some people had bad experiences with their mothers.
Perhaps you could try and see the principle behind the idea of a mother? Motherhood is a symbol of love and nurturing in our world and the animal kingdom even though lots of people have bad experiences individually.
I do care about my readers very much. Sorry you didn’t like this one.
Metaphors and generalizations are necessary to explain the world around us, good and bad. Consider seeking support to begin the journey to transcend the things that trigger your pain. Then you’ll be able to help others with YOUR story. Be well.
It is a genralisation, and one that i am thankful that it applies to me. unfortutely im still not quite old enough to appreciate and do what my mom tells me… but her morals and values have been installed in me, whether i wanted them to or not, but i know that later i will be incredibly thankful for all she has done for me, just right now, im still a kid… i dont like doing what im told
thank you for this post! i found your blog just days ago, and i really appreciate all the inspiring and meaningful posts. i’ve been feeling lost lately, and you are a big help!
thank goodness my mom is still here. umm….my mom always told us to not waste food. =)
While not all mom’s are great. Mine wasn’t, but she wasn’t all bad either. There are many things about her that I definitely try to not emulate. But she did teach me many things. My parents divorced when I was young. She had to go back to school while raising 3 young children. College was an hour drive each way every day. That was determination and dedication. And then, 10 years later, she got her Masters. While she and I do not get along well (it’s best we live in separate states) I do respect her for many things. She did the best she could with the tools she had in her emotional tool kit. I can take what was good, and continue to improve on it. The one thing that stuck out to me in the post was “this too shall pass” In our struggles as a family, that was frequently said and always true.