I’m Glad My Mother Taught Me To….
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I’m Glad My Mother Taught Me To….

- edited by: Steve Piscitelli

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When we consider our parents, teachers, friends, neighbors, spiritual leaders, mentors, and even total strangers with whom we interact, it is evident that we do not live in a vacuum.  Each leaves an imprint. Each creates an impression and we take a little away from each encounter.

Of all of the influences in our lives, each of us has a person or two (or more) who stands out above all others. To these people, we are grateful for their lessons.

Searching through a desk drawer, I stumbled upon a file folder I had forgotten about.  The label on the folder said “My Mother.”  Inside I found notes from a little exercise I did with my college students more than thirteen years ago. 

On that day in class, I asked them to think about the significant people in their lives and complete this sentence: “I am glad my mother taught me to….” I gave them the option to substitute another person for “mother” if it were more appropriate in their lives (and for this exercise). Some substituted “father” or “grandmother” or “girlfriend.”

I transcribed and categorized my students’ comments. Here is a sampling from more than four single-spaced pages of notes that I gathered from this exercise:

I’m glad my mother taught me to …

Be strong and believe in myself
Be chivalrous and respectful
Control my anger
Worship God
Speak properly in public
Respect myself and others
Look both ways before crossing the street
Not be a follower
Follow the Golden Rule
Do my best at everything
Not leave things to the last minute
Have manners
Bring a pen to class
Take my schoolwork seriously
Be independent
Be honest
Manage my finances

At the time my students were writing their thoughts, I scribbled my responses to the prompt. These included:

Be polite
Write thank you notes
Put things back where I found them
Get an education
Not build debt
Be punctual
Be disciplined
Do homework as soon as I got home from school
Save money
Get a job
Do a good job every day

It’s your turn. 

To whom are you grateful for a life lesson? What did he/she/they teach you? Why not thank those people today?

Adapted from a post on The Growth and Resilience Network®.

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