A question was recently posed, in honor of Mother’s Day, “What was the best advice your mother ever gave you?”
Although my mom had lots of wisdom to offer, it only took a moment to know what classified as best.
Even back in elementary school, the kids I knew were divided- the popular, in-crowd and the others. To be in the “other” group wasn’t difficult: if you were overweight; didn’t have as much money; wore hand-me-downs; weren’t athletic; if your parents were divorced; if your mother worked; if someone popular didn’t like you.
The trouble was, I wanted to be in the popular group but I didn’t always like how they treated other people. One friend’s mom told me I had to be friends with everyone. This made me confused and worried. I really didn’t like everyone (not even all the popular kids). How could I be friends with everyone?
So I asked my mom. And she gave me words of wisdom I still carry and apply today. She said, “You don’t need to be friends with everyone. You don’t have to like everyone. You won’t always agree with everyone- even people you do like.”
“But you have to be kind to everyone, no matter how you feel about them. You have to treat them with compassion and kindness.”
So, years after her passing and years into parenthood, the lesson still applies. I may never understand the weight someone else is carrying, but I can do my best not to make it heavier, even if I can’t make it lighter. I can consider others feelings and circumstances before I react. I can also remember I’m generally not the reason someone is irritated, even if they are acting irritated with me.
By treating others with kindness and compassion, even when I don’t want to be friends, I end up being the kind of woman I really want to be. And I also model the behavior I want to help my children learn.
Please share what your mom taught you or what you teach your kids that you hope they’ll always remember.