5 Lessons I Want To Thank My Parents For Teaching Me
About 6 minutes to read
In my opinion, a child is blessed if they have parents who are involved in their upbringing and who prepare them for life in the real world. While I never always agreed with or obeyed my parents I am blessed with the parents I had. Sadly, they are no longer with me, but today I want to thank my parents for teaching me these five lessons.
The Basics My Parents Taught Me
Yes, believe it or not we do need some basic training. Developing into a worthwhile human being doesn’t occur through osmosis or a sprinkling of fairy dust as we sleep!
I am grateful that my parents taught me how to dress myself, brush my hair and teeth, tie my shoelaces, and tell the time. They instructed me in the proper way to set a dinner table and eat at it, how to make my bed and operate a washing machine. Not only did they teach me basic everyday chores that they expected me to participate in, they also taught me basic human behaviour. My parents taught me how to say please and thank you, how to respect my elders and those around me, how to engage with others socially through kindness and compassion.
They did not leave these things up to chance but were actively engaged parents, ensuring that I understood what normal acceptable social behaviour was. Therefore seeing as they got the basics right they also gave me a foundation upon which I could build my life.
Being very different characters, I learnt different lessons from each of them. Here are the major lessons my mom taught me.
Actions have consequences, take responsibility for them
If my mother told me not to do something she always explained the consequence if I did. It wasn’t until my twelfth birthday that I fully grasped the meaning of this and actively applied this principle in my young life.
In some ways, I had a rather sheltered upbringing and it wasn’t until around my twelfth birthday that I learnt to ride a bicycle. We were living in a new neighbourhood, all the kids around me had bikes, and I had no clue how to ride one. Motivated by her own fear my mother forbade me from riding a bike but of course, I disobeyed her, what was she thinking.
When she told me not to get on the bike, she warned me that if I injured myself I should not come home asking her for help. That didn’t stop me and as a novice, I alighted an expensive racing bike and immediately injured myself. My foot slipped backwards off the pedal and I cut my ankle joint open on the derailleur. Blood spurting everywhere I immediately knew that I needed stiches. While all the kids were running around, I wrapped my foot in a towel and walked half a kilometre to the doctor.
I did not go home, although I did walk past my house, but went straight to the doctor for assistance. Of course, the receptionist was horrified to see my blood covered foot and that I was without adult supervision but I knew that I had quite literally created my own mess and needed to take responsibility and find a solution.
While you may be thinking that my mother was a monster, actually she was my greatest teacher. I knew where her boundaries were and I had crossed them. I could have run home covered in blood and crying and I know she would have helped me after giving me a massive dressing down, but this experience truly taught me that I could be resourceful when taking responsibility for my mess and I could find a way through and out of my troubles.
Get back up again
My mom also taught me resilience, how to get back up again. She herself was a very resilient woman and I learned from her example, but there were numerous times in my life when I faced disappointment, trauma, or tragedy that she helped me get back up again.
One such time was after completing high school. I never received a bursary to attend the university of my choice and my parents could not afford the tuition. For weeks, I felt devastated, and lay around the house like an amoeba without a plan. While both my parents comforted and consoled me, my mother forced me out of bed in the morning and into thinking about alternatives. When I started making excuses about why alternatives were unacceptable, she refused to accept them. She would not allow me to wallow in my own self-pity and misery, but rather taught me how to get back up again, wipe myself off and to make the best of all situations.
It was due to her tenacity and refusal to let me wallow that I went onto study something completely different allowing me to have an international career and live all over the world.
Wipe the dust off your feet and leave that place
My mom seemed to understand my need to cling to situations, circumstances, people, and things. From a young age, she would always say to me, “Angie my girl, wipe the dust off your feet and leave that place.”
She was teaching me to know when I was done with something or when it was done with me! When a situation, relationship or behaviour no longer served my best interests I was to leave everything associated with it (the dust) and leave that place (move on, let go).
This is the greatest lesson my mom taught me. Even now eleven years after her passing, when I feel stuck and unable to move forward I often hear her voice saying to me, “Angie my girl, wipe the dust off your feet and leave that place” and I know it is time to surrender it to the universe, let it go and move on. Thank you Mom!
Lessons I want to thank my dad for teaching me.
Work for what you want and don’t take things for granted
My dad was a humble man who was neither rich nor famous. In fact, he did not like the limelight and was very happy to serve others in the background. Growing up, there were times I had to go without because my parents could not afford to buy me what all the other kids had. I remember really wanting a game as a teenager and getting the sulks about it because my dad said he had no money. Instead of letting me stomp around like a sulky, sullen teenager, he challenged me to do something about it and to work for what I wanted.
I asked my neighbours if they had chores that needed doing and then I looked for a weekend job at a local supermarket. Gaining some financial independence taught me to value the things I worked for and not to take them for granted. This challenge from my dad instilled a work ethic within me that helped me understand that wanting and expecting handouts were not in my best interests. It also instilled within me the self-confidence I needed to face challenges and pursue my dreams.
Laugh and don’t take things so seriously
My dad had a quirky offbeat sense of humour, and would always find the funny side to any situation. He My dad taught me how to laugh at myself and I could always rely on him to show me how not to take things so seriously. There were many times growing up when I would be literally crying on his shoulder and he would point out something that was funny, either within my situation or in my surroundings. This truly taught me not to sweat the small stuff because all things change.
Today I look back and smile, filled with love and gratitude for the lessons my parents taught me. These five lessons have been the foundation and mainstay to my life and I am grateful that I had them as guides to help my development.
What lessons would you like to thank your parents for teaching you? Drop a comment and let us know.