Every once in a while someone does something and you sit back and just say WOW!! This is how I felt when I opened up my Facebook page and saw this video. The tears streamed down my face and I had a good cry something I have not done in years and all thanks to my niece Vivian who took the time to show in picture, song and word what she thought of her Nana. Now I have written many times about my mother in this blog spot and quoted her even more, because in hind sight I realised that she was speaking from experience and trying to help me and I was being a head strong rebellious teenager. The link below leads to the tribute.
The methods that my mother employed when I was young would not be tolerated today and in fact boarded on the cusp of child abuse, but she was not alone as this was the preferred government and legally approved child rearing method. Back in the day when you were told to do something by an adult, especially your parents you hopped to it, you were courteous, polite and well-mannered at all times when dealing with adults, or your bums would pay the debt for the rudeness, or any other slight your mouth, or actions had written a cheque for. When what you said or did caused another adult to complain to your parents about your behavior there was definitely a price to be paid and the community, your teachers and the neighbor next door expected a pound of flesh. Thus a respectful order was kept in the community, where seniors walked safe at anytime in their neighborhoods and never tired of acknowledging the nods, and the how are you feeling today mam or sir, from passing children. To veer from this as a child was to bring shame to your parents and your family and was not tolerated. In such a manner I was taught to respect my elders, to speak, but to do so respectfully and never to forget minding my manners.
My mother taught me in this manner to think before the words that could not be taken back came out. My mother taught me in this manner to consider the consequences of what I did and what I said. My mother taught me in this manner that once I made up my mind to act or take action to do so taking into account how the other person would receive the information and to consider the end result. In so doing I find that this wonderful lady has given me the gift of communicating with everyone and the ability to converse and share ideas and ideology with those who I might not agree without the need to win and when you are not trying to win, but just share your point of view there is no reason to fight, or argue. What a great gift this lady gave to me and I did not even know she was giving it and probably neither did she.
Over the years just like her appearance her ways and methods of dealing with children changed with the times and there was a lot more talking and a lot less hitting and scolding and as she honed her parenting skills she passed the new methods on to her grandchildren. I remember as a young man coming into the house and seeing my Mom sitting at the dining room table with Vivian doing homework. Mom was now wearing glasses, but I could see that she missed nothing in the way of viewing bad penmanship and her energy level and the need to have things done properly had not changed over the years. Mom stressed the ideology that if a job is worth doing then it is worth doing right.
Mom did not care that it was the dry run for a writing assignment and the teacher said not to worry too much about the grammar or punctuation you could fix it later, she would just say, “If you do it right the first time you will not have to do it again. Practice makes perfect and in life you will not always have a chance to do things wrong first, so learn to do things right the first time and you will be ahead of the game.” I did not like it then or understand it and thought my Mom to be harsh and I bet looking at little Vivian so did she, but her advice has served me well through time as I am sure it has done for Vivian. Although I still make a lot of grammatical errors, I do try my best at everything that I choose to do and in work I try to do things right the first time and it has served me well.
I remember as a young man who had quit school that I was not going to take a job as a busboy or dishwasher because I thought they were beneath me and I would be ashamed if one of my friends saw me doing anyone of what I considered at the time embarrassing jobs for dummies. My mother sat me down and said to me, “Son you were given all the tools to build the life that you wanted, I fought with you and I begged you to stay in school so that you could rise above the pack, but you fought me on everything every step of the way and have ended up where you find yourself today, uneducated and without anything to offer an employer but your back, your muscles and your work ethic. There is nothing wrong, or shameful in working hard and doing manual labor it is honest work, but you had every opportunity to do more and chose not to.
You my son have two choices and neither will be easy now. You can work while you are going to school knowing that one day you will be rewarded with an office job using your mind and not your muscles, but this is not easy and will require all of the mental and physical strength that you possess. Your other choice is to get yourself a job doing whatever comes closest to pleasing you and work hard and work yourself up by being invaluable and a professional. You will have to go above and beyond the call of duty to be noticed and not complain. I tried the first but it did not work for me so in the end I decided to do the second choice and worked my tail off at every job that I took. Slowly I started to get the reputation of an invaluable employee and a stand up guy. Once a guy asked me why I worked so hard for the boss when he did not care and I told him what my mother had told me years before, “I am a professional and as such I do not need to be told that I am doing a good job by the boss although it is nice to hear, I know in my heart at the end of the day that I have done the best days work that I am capable of and so when I go to sleep at night I am happy with my work effort and that gives me a great sense of accomplishment.” I have my mother to thank for all of this wonderful advice and thinking. I have not always agreed with her methods, but I have always known that in her heart that she loved me and was doing her best with the cards that was dealt her to see that we did well and suffered as little as possible.
My mother died by symptoms of her cancer ten years ago and it seems that all of a sudden I could hear her and understand her a lot more clearly. I began to understand how profoundly she has influenced my life and how I have modified her methods, but kept all of her intent in passing on all of her wisdom, love and caring to my children and grandchildren. If I had to answer what was my mother’s greatest quality I would have to say that she was the greatest teacher of life skills that I have ever known. There is nothing you can not achieve if you put your mind to it and want it bad enough was her motto, but there is no easy ride.
As you will see in the pictures and again with the wonderful words of my niece, my mother is still influencing my family ten years after her death.