After revisiting my mother’s wisdom in Part 1, I become even more aware of Mom’s influence on my daily thoughts.
Comments that used to elicit a rolling-of-the-eyes became valuable learnings that we sometimes don’t fully appreciate until we become adults. This week, I recalled many more lessons than just these here, but I’ll share three more with you:
1.“ Stand up straight.” Told to me when I longed to “fit in”;
Oh how I hated to hear these words! Especially in grade school, where I was the tallest in my class and very self-conscious. I recall every class picture had me positioned at the end of the group, and at the other end was the tallest boy, David E. There we were, predictable bookends for every group shot.
It wasn’t until much later when I started to get opportunities to model that the good posture helped me to sneak into jobs, even though I was a teeny bit shorter than the accepted industry height then of 5’7”.
As I started to interview and audition, the confidence perceived of a person with shoulders back gave me an advantage right off the bat, although my shyness and low self esteem would have to be handled later….
2.”Watch your language.” These words usually were directed at mea split second after I attempted to own a negative comment, or slang that I had imitated from a television program or peers at school.
Once I left my hometown and moved to the city and into a work environment, I became extremely grateful for this lesson! I might have had a bit of a regional accent I still had to work on, but I quickly learned that slang and foul language results in judgment of one’s intellect. I saw favor in circumstances purely because I was aware of what not to say. A simple lesson, but worth weight in gold.
Speaking of worth:
3. “Pay cash or at least pay off your credit card every month!” (Notice there is no “S” at the end of “C-A-R-D”?)
My parents paid cash for nearly everything we had. Even automobiles!
Upon seeing a VISA card with my name, however, I promptly forgot my mother’s words and celebrated every occasion with a swipe. At first, I did pay off every month, but then I got to the point that it was a bit more challenging to bring the balance to 0. That was when I thought, “What’s the big deal?” Everyone I knew had credit card balances, but they had really nice things, so why couldn’t I get that new TV, or cell phone or my 5th pair of black stilettos? I’d get the balance to 0, at some point.
I added another card. Then another. I financed my car, and decided I could handle two car payments because I wanted a convertible for that sense of freedom!
I’ve since learned what Mom tried to shield me from: Debt is not freedom.
In the past year my husband and I have undergone a complete overhaul on our finances and spending habits. We have trained ourselves (finally) to be consistently conscious with our dollars.
I have cut up all of my credit cards (Yes, even my once- beloved American Express!) and I have never felt so in control of my financial future. It may be tempting to look back at the years past (when I dismissed mom’s advise as “old school””) and think of how much more could be in the bank today, but late lessons are still valuable and we are making great progress. In our future: real freedom.
Don’t wait for a Hallmark card display to remind you to honor Mom. No matter what day it is, or how long it took you to appreciate them…thank her for the lessons.