December 22, 2017

Lessons from Mom

Over the last month or so there have been a few posts about problems with aging, caring for parents, and the inevitable decline as we age. I thought it was time to throw a little positivity into the mix. I had a very strong relationship with my mom and dad, though mom was the one who probably did more to shape my world view and how I perceive things. Now, 7 years after her death there are still times I wish I could show her a post I have written or ask her opinion about something.

What I do draw upon on a regular basis are some of the life lessons she instilled in me. There was nothing all that unusual about her advice, but following it whenever I can has made me the man I am today.

With the anniversary of her passing just a few weeks ago, now seemed like a good time to remind myself of Jean Lowry's rules of life:


* Be honest and trustworthy

* Protect my reputation

* Help the less fortunate

* Reading is a priceless gift. Use it every day

* Treat my wife like the jewel she is

* Keep smiling no matter what the circumstances. Attitude counts.

* Always put family first

* Never let your children down..be there for them forever

* Stay married (she made 63 years)

* If in doubt check the dictionary


Before you nominate me for sainthood, let me assure you that this is a list of goals, not accomplishments. Each one requires constant focus and vigilance on my part. Each one, except using a dictionary, is very much a work in progress. 

I have had a much better time trying to live up to mom's admonitions since I retired. The work environment I created for myself and family did not lend itself to some of the "rules" on this list. I fell short on the wife and children parts, didn't do much for the less fortunate, and tended to put business, not family, first.

The last 16 years of my retirement journey have increased the odds that I can live up to mom's desires for me. At least I have fewer excuses when I miss the mark.

Thanks, mom. 

22 comments:

  1. My mother told me many of the same things. But she was more action oriented ... not her action, but trying to nudge me into action. So she always told me a stitch in time is worth nine, and never find yourself up a creek without a paddle, and I can still hear her today: "Tom, get off your rusty dusty!"

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    1. Rusty Dusty....never heard that one before! My mom sounds like yours. She wasn't all that active personally, but prodded me through quiet affirmations and guidance to keep moving forward.

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  2. The lesson that you shared from your mother that changed an entire way of life:
    Don't worry.
    Your mother was a wise woman.

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  3. I loved the list. Made me think of lessons that I learned from my mom. Definitely the family first lesson. Helping others. And always look your best. At least she always did!

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    1. Isn't it nice to have some warm memories of our mothers that have stood the test of time.

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  4. I am fortunate to still have my Mom. I have learned a great deal from her. From her, I learned a strong work ethic, the value of caring for others, the importance of family, independence, my feminist beliefs in equality, courage, persistence, and a love of reading.

    Jude

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    1. Relish all your time with her, Jude. The last few years of my mom's life were not good for her. 7 years later I still want to tell her what's going on in my life.

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  5. Great list. From my Mom I will add (1) surround yourself with good people (2) don't participate in gossip

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    1. Two excellent life guidelines. Thanks, Suzanne. Happy holidays!

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  6. Wonderful post. Your Mother was a gem. I miss mine everyday and she has been gone almost 30 years.

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    1. That is quite a testament to your mom's influence - almost 3 decades later and she is a constant presence in your thoughts.

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  7. My parents didn't necessarily leave me with a lot of pearls of wisdom, but their actions formed me nonetheless. They instilled in me a work ethic which stood me well all these years. A love for God was another that has paid many dividends over the years. The importance of education, particularly since neither was well educated but smart nonetheless. Together with many other things they showed me before they passed, I am thankful for what they were able to give.

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    1. One thing about comments like yours: it reminds me of the importance of the role I play in my daughters' and grandkids' lives. What I say and do everyday has more power than I really appreciate.

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  8. Bob, your mom is smiling down upon you. It's a tribute to know you've been an influence on others and made a difference in a lifetime. My mother instilled a strong work ethic in me; at 84 yrs of age she still thinks she has to put in a day's work. She taught me to be independent and encouraged me to be able to look after myself. A quote from my mother - You don't need to talk about anyone's negative traits; everyone already knows. My mother didn't always live up to her teachings but she aspired to them. I've just read a book by Jann Arden called Feeding My Mother. Jann is a Canadian singer/songwriter who has written a poignant book about dealing with dementia. Like Jann, I'm learning that I don't have to be the memory police. Merry Christmas, Bob.

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    1. Your mom's quote is much like Suzanne's mom: don't gossip. It may be momentarily satisfying but is ultimately harmful to all.

      With all her physical challenges, ones that eventually killed her, my mom did not have to deal with dementia or Alzheimers. For that, I am eternally thankful.

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  9. I didn't have that kind of mother but, my grandmother was a wise woman. Her examples of a strong marriage and her skill in the kitchen were things I aspired to and feel I have achieved.
    b

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    1. Thanks for your addition. There are a lot of folks who may not have had good role models for parents, but some relative usually steps up.

      BTW, the last post I have from your excellent blog is a month old! Are you focused on getting your book done?

      Merry Christmas to you and Dave.

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    2. I was almost burnt out trying to finish it and had to step away, briefly. I have taken a break from the blog this month, due to political burn out, and forcing myself to sprint to the finish in January. There will definitely be a new blog post soon. Hope you all had a lovely holiday! I'm praying the new year will bring light at the end of this tunnel of insanity!
      b

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  10. Bob, thanks for your ongoing posts which always hit their mark! And thanks for admitting you're a work-in-progress as we all are. MC&HNY!

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    1. Thanks for your well wishes, Bruce. MC & HNY to you and yours, too.

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  11. My mom's most valuable lesson, still used regularly in our family, was to say "(fill in the blank) aren't people". If I dinged the car fender, it was "cars aren't people". If I came home thinking I had done poorly on an exam, it was "exams aren't people". Did a great job keeping things in perspective!

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