Friday, January 27, 2012

Lessons From My Mother

Day 27 of Your Year to Wellness
Woven portrait of my mother Beatrice Berry by Younwoo Chaa

I’ve heard from many readers all saying  that they love it when I share my mother’s wisdom. Well, today, I’m going to give you some of what I had to get growing up. My mother’s lessons were timely and important, but most of the time they were delivered with a beating or during a yelling session. I tell people that our mothers were right, but they were beating us while they were teaching us, so we forgot the lesson but remembered the beating.

Here are some of the strange but wonderful things my mother used to say.

·         Don’t put your pocketbook down low, or your money will be too. My mother would run to pick up a purse that was put down on the floor. As I got older, I learned that this practice can be found in other cultures around the world. The basic lesson is to respect your money and hold in in high regard. If you treat it with little respect, you will have little to respect.

·         Money is the dirtiest thing in the world. My mother’s saying often contradicted each other. While she was respectful of money, she’d always wash her hands after handling it. She’d say “Money is the dirtiest thing in the world. It’s been some of everywhere.” She was so right. When tested, it’s been found to have traces of, as my mother would say, “Some of everything.”

·         Don’t let no moss grow under your feet. In other words get up and get to stepping. “Time waits for no man,” she often chided.” If you have an idea or thought about doing something, go and do it.

·         All he’s got is his hat ad that. This was my mother’s description of a man who in her opinion had nothing to offer; no kindness, no brains, no joy, just his hat and well—that.

·         If you have to ask how much it costs you already know you can’t afford it. My mother was the original recycler. She saved and reused everything. She had very little patience for people who shopped for the sake of shopping and even less for folks who as she said “Robbed Peter to pay Paul.” She believed in repairing old clothing and appliances and that if you had to figure out how to pay for something, you should go without.

·         Just live long enough…This was my mother’s way of saying what goes around comes around and if you just live long enough you will see your styles, actions and all the things you blame your parents for coming right back to you.

·         Going on up the lazy river.  Every night before my mother went upstairs to her bedroom, she announced, “Well, I’m going on up the lazy river.” When she passed away, I granted her request for a cremation. I placed her ashes in a beautiful wooden bowl I received a few months before while in Hawaii. My children took her remains out behind our home to the Ogeechee River and released them. When they came back inside they said’ Well, grandma’s ‘gone on up the lazy river.”

Life does come right back around. The lessons we’ve been taught are the lessons we need right now.

·         Think of the things your parents told you when you were young. What do they mean to you today?

·         Share a lesson with your children or with a child you love, how do they interpret it?

·         What crazy saying have you created in your lifetime? Share it with a friend.

·         If your slogan was a bumper sticker what would it be and why?

·         How do you say “Good night?” If it’s just good night, try something new and share it with your loved ones.

Life is all about learning. Keep collecting the lessons and passing them on.

Be you, be well, be a learner.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

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