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The past several weeks I’ve posted lessons I’ve learned from my father, my children and my wife.  This week it’s my mother’s turn.

My mother passed on almost thirty years ago.  It seems like yesterday that these lessons were taught.  As with my father’s lessons, the older I get, the more important and impactful the lessons are.  It’s funny how things we learned as children become stronger as the years pass by.

My mother was an incredible person.  Everyone who had the good luck to be associated with her came to love her.  Unfortunately cancer took her from us when she was way too young.  I wonder if she was diagnosed today whether medical technology would have been able to have her still with us.

Here are some of the lessons that I learned from her:

Listen to what others say.  One of the things she did better than anyone I’ve ever met is listen with her whole body.  When you were talking with her there was no one in the world more important than the person she was listening to.  I’ve learned that listening is much more important than talking.  Or, as Steven Covey says “first seek to understand before being understood.”

Show empathy for others situation.  My mother was a probation officer for many years.  Even with people most would consider untouchable she would show empathy for their situation.  By showing empathy and understanding with others she got through to many who others never had any luck communicating with.

Have fun.  One of the reasons people loved to be around my mother was because she knew how to have fun.  We often take ourselves too seriously.  I don’t think my mother ever was ponderous in her thoughts or actions.  It just seemed she had an awful lot of fun and shared that fun with others.

Be gracious when you disagree or don’t like what’s going on around you.  Many times we whine when things don’t go our way.  I don’t think that my mother ever whined.  She was always gracious even when things didn’t go her way. 

Be curious about others and your surroundings.  I think one of the reasons my mother was such a good listener is that she was a curious person.  She always wanted to know what made someone else tick.  She understood herself and was interested in why others did the things they did.  If we spend more time trying to understand others we can be in a position to help.

I miss my mother.  At the same time I’m a very lucky guy.  I’ve had two parents who taught me some great lessons.  One taught in me in a rough tumble way and one in a nurturing way.

What are your thoughts about lessons that you’ve learned from your parents? If you want to share any stories please email me at Jpatrick@stage2planning.com or click on this link to set a time to talk.

Josh Patrick

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