The Top 10 Things My Mother Taught Me

mom 5Happy Mother’s Day all! This one is for my miraculous Mommy! I love you so much! Everything you’ve done and continue to do for me I appreciate from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for being so awesome! 

Readers: Each part is a song title and the links take you to the song, maybe even a music video 🙂 Also the numbers are of no particular value since these are all priceless lessons she’s taught me. Enjoy!

1. Amazing Grace:

AKA: Kill them with Kindness… and forgiveness. When someone is sucky to you, take the high road, rise above. Always be kind, always forgive. Have you ever had some road-rager flip you off and felt the urge to yell in all sincerity “Have a great day!” Well that’s kind of the point. A little snarky I’ll admit but it was funny at the time. No, the point is, kindness is infectious and it’s really hard to be a jerk to someone who constantly forgives you and rises above negativity. I’ll admit I don’t always do this, grudges do occur. But I try to turn it around and make it right eventually. I’m a big fan of God’s forgiveness for our sins. That is one of the keystones to my faith. It’s exhausting trying to be perfect, I get exhausted watching people try! We’re human which, at its core, is imperfect and messy. Give forgiveness and ask for forgiveness, it will make your life a whole lot simpler.

2. Don’t Worry, Be Happy

mom 4We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. I can’t tell you how many times my Mother has said this to me. This is answer for all the “What if” moments in your life. Children ask this ALL THE TIME! I know I did. I get it from my students every other day! There are so many variables in life we have no or little control over. If you “What if” about each possible problem, your wasting valuable time and probably missing the good stuff! If S*%$ happens that you have no control over, deal with it after it happens, you’ll figure it out, you always do, right?

3. Patience

It’s a virtue. Whatever! I know it is and it beneficial to have it and my Mother tried to drill it in my head but I still don’t have much of it. If something breaks, I fix it, or get a new one immediately. If I’m excited for something, like transplanting my tomatoes plants that I grew from seed out to my garden, I’ll probably do it sooner than needed…. I did, and I’m regretting my lack of patience. Feel free to say “I told you so,” Mom…. she did, ugh!

4. Don’t Speak

AKA: If you don’t have something nice to say – Don’t say anything at all. There is just no room in my happy world for put downs. I don’t tolerate them and tend to stand up for people who receive them. I learned this one at an early age and am a firm believer in its power. Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me? Nope! Not true. Words hurt, often worse than sticks and stones so why would you do that to someone, friend or stranger? I got put down a lot throughout my life as an underdog of society so this one totally works for me. Thanks Mom!

5. Independent Women

mom 2When this song came out, it was like listening to my Mother rap! I’m sure Beyonce’s mom and my mom must have hung out! They had to! Let’s review: “Always 50/50 in relationships, The shoes on my feet I’ve bought it, The clothes I’m wearing I’ve bought it, The rock I’m rockin’ ‘Cause I depend on me.” But let’s be real “Ladies it ain’t easy being independent.” Now I’m not all high and mighty/too good for a man, no sir! But I was taught to have my own career and make my own money. Everyone needs to know how to survive in this world on their own. You never know when the pooh might hit the fan. Contingency plans are a must. That’s how my Mom raised me and I’m glad for it.

6. No More Drama

I know, the video is a bit much but it completely encompasses what this section is about. My Mom could always single out drama with two words: Red Flag. Ugh! I hated the red flags! Red flags are the equivalent of deal breakers. All those negative and toxic aspects of a person that you can’t and shouldn’t have to deal with. Don’t get me wrong, we all have problems and we all have flaws, I’m loaded with them! But if they cross your line in the sand, it’s a red flag.  It drove me batty when I was dating! Every time I’d bring home Mr. Wrong, she’d point out to me the next day all the “red flags” with raised eyebrows and a shaking head. Of course, I got defensive and defiant every time it was brought up, but in the end, she was always right about Mr. Wrong.  Ugh, I hated that! Still, it sunk in, and when I start to notice them about a new person in my social world, I keep an eye on it. Sure enough, the more red flags, the less I want to make that person a permanent instalment in my life.

7. I’m Not Big on Social Graces

mom 3Yes, I know that’s not the title of the song, but it’s more to the point of this section. BTW, wasn’t that video great? I thought it was the coolest! I know she wishes I was bigger on social graces, I can be quite crass. But she did teach me the proper way of things: how to dress professionally, be polite, mind my P’s and Q’s (what the hell does that mean anyway?) . Fortunately I have no problem switching on the well-bred button when needed. However I love turning it off even more lol.

8. Come Together

Mom has always been great at entertaining. We would host family and friend parties often as I was growing up. I loved them. So much fun having a community based on love and friendship. When I became an adult I discovered I have a knack for rallying the troops for adventures and parties. I was able to systematically prepare for a gathering and keep my wits during it while still having a good time and making everyone feel welcome. I’m certain this talent was bestowed on me via osmosis and helping my Mother over the years. Entertaining is an art!

9. Take it easy

Number one quality a teacher must have: be flexible. Mom always told me this. She was a teacher, my sister is a teacher, as am I. My sister and I are often complemented on our abilities to adjust, evolve, and thrive in such a chaotic field. My response to such applause has always been:  “I came from good stock.” Meaning my mom was a bad-ass teacher and I learned so much from our dinner table conversations and observing how she handled the most challenging hurdles in life and career.  Even thought I had no desire to become a teacher in the beginning of my career quest, when I finally gave in to her nagging and pursued it, I was a natural. And I LOVE the work. Still it always returns to that go-with-the-flow attitude that keeps me afloat even in the direst of circumstances.

10. Hawaiian Cowboy

mom 6The video accompanying this section is of my Great Uncle Sol K. Bright who wrote this famous song. My grandfather was also a famous musician in Hawaii and I glow with pride every time I tell people this. My Hawaiian roots and culture are very near and dear to my heart. My mother and her mother and father made damn sure my sister and I knew our heritage. I think this window into self-identity may supersede all the adjectives that describe me since it has always been a constant in my life. Or, at least, somehow is included in all that makes me who I am. Gardener, Hawaiian, Cook, Hawaiian, Writer, Hawaiian, Teacher, Hawaiian. It has been a connection I’ve shared with so many people. It is my culture and I love the Aloha Spirit!

Happy Mother’s day to my mom and all the mom’s out there. Teach your children well. Remember that you are mentoring them every minute of every day. Thank you for all you do for us.

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