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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