Words of Wisdom My Mother Taught Me – Annie Payne
I have always maintained that all mothers were given an imaginary ‘Rules for Mothers’ manual when their first child was born, containing all of those catchphrases that are used daily by mothers around the world. You know the phrases that I mean:
‘Don’t put that dirty snail (or other dirty, slimy, germ-ridden thing) into your mouth.’
‘Don’t hit (bite, tease, poke or even look) at your little brother/sister.’
‘You’ll never grow big and strong if you don’t eat your greens (meat, vegetables, cereal).’
‘You won’t get any birthday presents if you tease the cat (pull the baby’s hair, don’t clean up your room).’
My son and I sat in the funicular car going down from Mt Tibidabo in Barcelona a few years ago and watched a young mother rattle off these, or similar, phrases to her 3 young, energetic children in rapid Basque-accented Spanish. Ken, now in his 30's, turned to me after watching the mother, and observed “You mothers all say the same things to your children, wherever you live – what is it about mums?”
Ken’s words made me think about this overwhelming need for all mothers to:
· protect their children from danger or harm by teaching them the right/correct way to do simple tasks;
· to teach them how to behave and interact with others;
· to grow strong and healthy;
· to have good table manners and social skills;
· to have respect for others, especially the elderly, disabled or other minority group;
· to be honest, to themself and others;
· to be educated and to learn the ways of other people;
· to be tolerant of others;
· to learn who to trust and who to distrust;
· to listen to what their ‘gut feeling’ tells them and to trust that instinct.
I couldn’t understand the words the Spanish woman used, but I knew, instinctively, what she was saying to her children, in the same way that I had often heard my mother’s words come out of my own mouth when I became a mother myself. Mothers, universally, from time immemorial, only wish for the best for their children, which is why we use the same words or phrases.
What values and lessons did your mother teach you? Do you teach your children the same things? Have you written down some of the sayings or phrases she used? You may be surprised to hear your daughter say the same things to her children. Why not write down some of Mum’s familiar sayings, phrases and values, taking notice when you or your children say the same things. This is the time honoured way that mother's everywhere pass on their wisdom, life skills and worldy knowledge, by word of mouth and by example.
Today, Easter Sunday, is a time when families of many religious or secular interests gather together for a meal or other social event and it is a great opportunity for you to take Mum aside to talk about the values and life lessons that she taught you as a small child. Perhaps it’s time to thank your mum, as a mother yourself, for teaching you those values and life lessons that all children need to know to survive childhood and to become parents themselves. I missed this chance myself as Mum died in 1979 when I was a young mum at home with 2 small children and I thought she be around forever! Thanks Mum.