Just a Thought: A Mother Can Make Simple Changes


As we celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday we recognize there are things instilled in us in our younger years that remain in us until we take our last breath. They are programmed into us even before we know we are being programmed.

Oftentimes after I interact with someone in their 60’s or 70’s and, after getting to know them, I will say “Your mother raised you right!” They look at me puzzled, like what does their mother have to do with anything. I continue with a comment along the lines of “I can tell from how you view the world that you have been taught what is right and wrong and other life lessons that continue to help you assess problems in your world decades later.”

You see, a newborn baby is born with a blank slate. Genetically, every child is different. Each birth is the first of one edition. The inner workings are one of a kind.

But then the baby cries and he learns that crying will lead to being fed. The child learns to smile and his family goes crazy each time he does so thus rewarding his behavior. A child reaches for something very hot and his hand is immediately slapped. There are countless examples of training crossing the spectrum from rewards to punishment. They are designed to modify behavior.

A young child does not understand he is being programmed. He just responds and remembers when parents reward him or sanction him. Through the process, a child learns how he should approach life.

Once words and sentences can be communicated from a child, the child begins asking the “why” questions. The child desires to understand why the rules are what they are. The ultimate response is often “because Mommy says so.”

Thank God for mothers. I believe all of us have had one. Although there are plenty of exceptions, most of us had mothers who were key to our programming. They provided the stability a young child needs. From wiping snotty noses to putting band-aids on skinned knees, mother’s lives don’t belong to themselves when they raise young children.

I was born to an awesome mother who was always there to take care of me. Whatever my needs were as I grew and developed, she was there. At 64 years old, my inner makeup continues to reflect my mother’s teachings. She taught me what I needed to know to be equipped to fully live my life six decades later.

I saw online a writing called “Simple Formula for Living.” After reading it it made me think that life is not that complicated. If we could simplify our journey on this planet, I think our quality of life would be much better. Too often we take something simple and make it complex. We need to return to a simpler world if we can.

The simple formula for living is as follows: “Live beneath your means. Return everything you borrow. Stop blaming other people. Admit it when you make a mistake. Give clothes not worn to charity. Do something nice and try not to get caught. Listen more; talk less.

“Every day take a 30 minute walk. Strive for excellence, not perfection. Be on time. Don’t make excuses. Don’t argue. Get organized. Be kind to unkind people. Let someone cut ahead of you in line. Take time to be alone. Cultivate good manners.

“Be humble. Realize and accept that life isn’t fair. Know when to keep your mouth shut. Go an entire day without criticizing anyone. Learn from the past. Plan for the future. Live in the present. Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s all small stuff.”

There you go. I think a third grader could understand this formula. And if a third grader can understand this, why is it so complicated for us adults? If these were things your mother instilled in you as a child, when did you forget them? Why is your life so difficult?

Sometimes I think we like the drama that comes from making simple things complex. There is something about needing things to be difficult to make our lives a challenge. We create complexity so we can feel that we are truly alive.

My challenge to you as we recognize Mother’s Day is to return to the simple things your mother instilled in you. Downgrade the complexity you are experiencing. Don’t try to justify doing the wrong thing. There is no right way to do the wrong thing.

Use a simple test such as “Would my mother be proud of choices I am making?” If the daily choices you make would make your mother proud, you should be living right.

Understand that if you hold tight to the fundamentals your mother taught you, the rest of life will take care of itself. And, if your mother is still alive, let her know how much you appreciate her preparing you many years ago for your life today!

Just a thought...

Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to rkraft@kraftlawfirm.orgmailto:thekraftlawfirm@aol.com or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.


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