The 5 Best Lessons From My Mother
I was lucky to have such a loving childhood full of exploring the woods, playing all kinds of sports, fun summer vacations, and family togetherness. My mother and I have a wonderful relationship and I’ve learned so much from her over the years. Here are the top five lessons she has taught me.
- The Importance of Commitment- My mother and I are both fiercely loyal. We do not commit to things unless we can give it our all. My parents were high school sweethearts and this year will be celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary. Watching how they interact with each other was a powerful lesson for me growing up. My mom was also committed to many other things, but never took on more than she could handle. She was always very involved in my activities growing up. At age nine, she took me to see USA play China in field hockey and I fell in love with the sport. At the time, there was nowhere for kids my age to play, so she and a few friends got together and created a league for young girls. My mother also volunteered to be the cookie mom for my girl scout troop. At the time, I had no idea how much work goes into that position. Looking back on it now as an adult, I’m so grateful for all the hours she put into it and all the lessons my friends and I got from selling cookies. My mom is an internationally ranked referee for lacrosse and was inducted into the lacrosse hall of fame. She has served as the president of the IFWLA (International Federation of Women’s Lacrosse Associations) for many years and is still involved by teaching new referees the ropes. She is truly an inspiration in the commitment department.
- The Importance of Athletics- My mom always encouraged my brothers and I to play sports. My dad played soccer at UNC and my mom played field hockey, lacrosse and was a high diver at WCU. Athletics is in our blood. It was always our choice if we wanted to participate or not, but it brought my parents (especially my mom) so much joy to watch us play. The lessons I learned from athletics are countless. I learned how to be a good teammate, to deal with coaches I didn’t agree with, to take care of my body, to bounce back after an injury, to be a leader, to be a cheerleader, to be a coach and it gave me the opportunity to visit new places and meet new people. Athletics also taught me how to set goals and follow through. In high school I set a goal to play field hockey in college on an athletic scholarship and I did just that at James Madison University. I have my mother to thank for exposing me to field hockey and fanning the flame of passion that was ignited in me.
- The Importance of Education– My mom was a health and physical education teacher before I was born. She always loved passing on information and making it really fun. She had incredible patience with me and was always willing and able to advise me on homework, edit my latest paper or assist with a project I procrastinated on. She encouraged me to do well in school, but mostly helped me understand that learning can and should be enjoyable. She inspired me to read outside of school texts and even read aloud to me much past the time I could read independently. She was continually learning herself and loved to do nearly impossible crossword puzzles. In high school, my parents wouldn’t allow me to have a job. They would give me spending money so I could focus on being a kid. In their eyes, school was my job and any extracurricular activities I chose. I was free to us my downtime to pursue my own passions. I’ve decided to homeschool my own children and my mom has been nothing but supportive and helpful as I attempt to give them an enchanted education.
- The Importance of Travel– As an internationally ranked lacrosse referee, my mom gets to go to some amazing places. She has traveled to the European World Cup for the last several years. She has visited countries like the Czech Republic, South Wales, England, and Germany and she has also been to Japan, Australia, and all over the United States for lacrosse tournaments. I used to love when she returned from these trips and show me the pictures of these far off lands. My mother passed on her love of travel to me. In high school was the first time I travelled outside the US, to Italy with my italian class. Now, my husband and I have built our family lifestyle around our love of travel. We believe the best way to learn about a different culture is to go see it first hand. I’m excited that my kids are getting to the ages where international travel is more accessible.
- The Importance of Tradition– Growing up I knew I could count on certain things. I knew every Christmas, my mom and I would bake cookies together (and we still do). I knew Santa would come Christmas Eve and leave us something special. I knew the Easter Bunny would visit, fill my basket with treats, and then hide it for me to find. If I lost a tooth, I knew the Tooth Fairy would stop by and leave me some money. I could count on way too much delicious food at every family function, especially Thanksgiving. Each spring my mom and I would weed the garden, plant flowers, and lay mulch. I knew every summer we’d take a trip as a family. Every fall we would rake up the leaves into a huge pile to jump into and pick up all the sticks for a bonfire complete with s’mores. In college, I knew my mom would be in the crowd every game she could and that she would always bring me some PEZ® candies. She made all these things happen. She taught me how family traditions bring a sense of certainty and safety to a child. Now, as a mother myself, I carry on these traditions with my kids and we have added some of our own.
I’m grateful for my mom and all the wonderful lessons she has taught me over the years. My children could not have asked for a more loving and present grandmother. I’m grateful for all the hours she spent driving me to practices, games, and tournaments and that she was in the stands even in the cold or rain. I’m grateful for her outlook on education and that she taught me to think outside the box. I’m grateful for the trips she took me on and for allowing me to go to Italy in high school, which completely changed my outlook on the world and gave me a desire to see more of it. I’m grateful for all the family traditions big and small she kept going over the years and that my kids will now get that benefit. If I’m half the mother mine is, my kids are truly blessed.
Lindsay McCarthy is a wife and homeschool mom of two kids. She is the co-author of The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families and creator of GratefulParent.com where she blogs. She grew up in Pennsylvania and still lives there today while she enjoys writing, gardening, and playing field hockey. Lindsay loves to travel and one of her favorite trips was climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro- four months pregnant!
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