What My Momma Taught Me

May 13, 2012

Years and years and YEARS ago, when I was an almost-6-foot-tall, 105-pound teen girl with huge glasses and braces, lots of other kids in school made fun of me.

Go figure.

When I’d tell my mom about it, she’d tell me that the boy who dared any OTHER boy in the class to ask me on a date (to subsequent rollicking laughter, high-fiving, and the secret vowing of every girl in the class to NEVER befriend me, the cute-boy-repulser) was probably having a bad day.

Or he’d been in a terrible bicycle accident and had possibly fallen on his head and THAT’S why he had been so unfeeling in his comments about me.

Or maybe it was allergies that were making him not be able to think in a Christian-like manner. 

Basically?  It felt like she was always on the OTHER person’s side.

But while this sounds bad and accusatory and not-very-Happy-Mother’s-Day-ish, just wait.

The good part, where I grew up and realized what that seeming-unfairness actually taught me, is coming. 

My mom is known for just being a good lady.  She never speaks badly of ANYONE, never talks behind people’s backs, and ALWAYS begins by thinking the best of everyone she meets.

And now, as a mom and a grown woman (even though, most days, it doesn’t feel that way), I understand what that trait of hers that drove me crazy in school and made me dislike her intensely, did for me.

It made me compassionate.  It made me understand that most people have a sad story somewhere in their lives, and most of the time, I do not know that story.

Like the lady that I wrote off as a snobbish officer’s wife, whose baby had recently and very suddenly died.

Or the family who I  KNEW had really messed up their kids because they were just bad parents, but who really were dealing with issues I couldn’t have even imagined.

My mom taught me that while I am busy living my life,  OTHER people are living THEIR lives and sometimes things that are unfair happen, and things that are painful happen, and things that I can’t even comprehend happen to people whom I assume are stuck-up or rude or uncaring.

When, all the time, they’re just struggling to get through whatever it is and come out on the other side intact.

And maybe I just need to assume that they are in the middle of something bad or sad or unfair, instead of writing them off as Bad People. 

That’s what she taught me.  

I’m still not very good at it.  Some days it makes me feel better to think badly of someone who has treated me unkindly or unfairly.

But OTHER days, I kinda get it, and I remember that they have a story that I don’t know about, and if I DID, I’d feel differently about the way they had just spoken to me and I’d give them the benefit of the doubt.

And maybe I’d stop being so self-centered, actually thinking that people are required to make me feel good about myself and comfortable and happy.

What IS required of me is to love them, and part of that means that  I need to  assume the best of others no matter how they treat me.

That’s hard.

But I have my momma to help show me how to do that.

She thinks that she messed up all those years ago, sticking up for the other person instead of me.

But the years have shown me what was in her heart all that time.


And that’s what my momma taught me.  


5 Responses to “What My Momma Taught Me”

  1. David Vaughn said

    You HAVE a fabulous Mother!! Thanks for reminding us to be more like her.


  2. Zum said

    Your mom sounds cool … but you sounded a little ‘slow’ to catch on! Thanks for the post.

  3. Trina said

    Totally incredible post! It’s very thought provoking and I’m sending it to all my children. You are wonderful and Your Momma sounds wonderful, too!

  4. Tonya said

    Your Mom’s sister described her just the same way you did when we were talking yesterday. Now if her sister confirms such virtuous behavior about her you know it must be true. I’ve always thought she was pretty fabulous myself and her daughters turned out pretty good also; I know and admire them both.

  5. Natalie said

    This is awesome. I have been following your blog everysince I met you and your family at DMAFB and have never been compelled to comment until I read this. I agree with your mother. It was explained to me by a man that cleaned my horses stalls in NC: Try to not add anything additional on anybody’s plate regardless of how they have treated, spoke to or answered you It is the least you can do for that person, not to add into everything else they have happening in their lives, then you know you may have given them a smile, a bright spot or reassurance in a not so good day, week or month. You never know what is on the other persons plate, I just want the assurance that I helped them and left them in the best way that I could, that is the least we can do for each other. This was applying to customer service and dealing with some rude horse owners in the barn, but he applied it to life, and I can only hope that I can strive to be this way as much as he lead his life in this way.

    Thank you,

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