Seizing the opportunity to gather some thoughts on the significant gifts mothers give to their children, I asked a group of senior citizens, “What did you receive from your mother that has had …
Seizing the opportunity to gather some thoughts on the significant gifts mothers give to their children, I asked a group of senior citizens, “What did you receive from your mother that has had lasting significance and what did you seek to give to your children of lasting significance?” The answers: A love of nature. A consideration for the feelings of other people. Empathy. Looking for the good in others. Lots of love and attention. A love for animals. Respect. Unconditional love. Sharing stories, mealtimes, friendships.
Seizing another opportunity, I asked basically the same question to a group of grade school children. “Why do we have moms?” Every hand went up in the class room. The consensus was that moms make you do lots of things. They are always saying things like: “Take your plate into the kitchen, please. Take that toy downstairs when you go. Don’t leave that toy there, take it upstairs. Don’t hit your brother. I’m talking to you. Just a minute, please, can’t you see I’m talking? Did you brush your teeth? What are you doing out of bed? Go back to bed. What do you mean, there’s nothing to do? Go outside. Read a book. Get off the phone. Take a jacket or at least a sweater. Someone left his shoes in front of the television. Get the toys out of the hall. Do you realize that could kill someone? Hurry up, everyone’s waiting. I mean it. Make your bed. Clean up your room. Sit up. Stop playing and eat. How many times have I told you, don’t do that. Where did the cookies go? Stop yelling. If you want to ask me something, come here. Ask your father. We’ll see.”
What is interesting about the comments of children, although somewhat different than those of senior citizens, is that their comments still entails intense, regular, daily emotional involvement. All of these answers illustrate the importance of our mothers in teaching us how to go about living our daily lives.
In our technological society where we place such high values on learning skills and mastering tasks, we can boast of marvelous technological achievements such as traveling to the moon, creating the information highway that encircles the globe, performing laproscopic surgeries that minimize trauma to the body, enjoying homes that keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
The list of technological achievements is endless. We have achieved more technological advances in the past 100 years than since the beginning of human history. But, sadly, during the same time we have experienced very little human progress, that is, progress in the area of relational skills. Our lack of attention to human progress and fixation on technological progress is difficult to understand. Most people, if they fail in life, do not fail at performing any particular skill, but usually in the area of relations. We are more likely to be able to do a job, than to get along with our coworkers.
Mothers are often our first and best teachers concerning the fine art of relating well. When our mothers teach us how to cope with life, how to solve problems, how to pick up after ourselves, how to relate with our buddies, how to use our talents and skills, how to get along with our sisters and brothers, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, they are imparting to us one of the most important lessons of life. They are teaching us the fine art of relating.
Mothers, what are you teaching your children. What will they say about you?
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