1. “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”
My mom says this to me quite often. I have the tendency to say whatever is on my mind without filtering my initial thoughts. My intentions are always good but I can’t say the same for all of my deliveries. I have been doing my best to follow my mom’s advice with this one, especially since sarcasm is usually my first response to anything. I think this is a really important lesson particularly when talking to those who are important to you and knowing that your delivery can be more crucial than your message. This is something my mom is really good at when it comes to telling me something I might not want to hear.
2. “Just don’t get caught”
Luckily, neither of my parents were overprotective while I was growing up. I was always pretty open with my mom about what my friends and I were up to or where I was going. If she thought that something was fishy or didn’t agree with what I was doing, she would simply say, “Just don’t get caught.” This was her way of letting me know that whatever happened was my responsibility and that any consequences were on me. I really admire this advice because it showed that she was (and still is) always willing to let me learn things on my own.
3. “Clean up as you go”
This one is something my mom has always said to me while I help her in the kitchen. While we are preparing a meal, she always manages to slip in, “And remember… clean up as you go.” Putting things away as you use them just makes clean up easier in the end. For her and me, eating and then having to clean everything up is the worst part about cooking so she has instilled in me to make the process easier by putting things away here and there. I think this advice is applicable in more places than just the kitchen. I take this advice with me when I go to work, while I am trying on clothes in the fitting room, and even when it comes to leaving trash in my car. Cleaning up as you go can only help, not hurt.
4. “It’s only awkward if you make it awkward”
I think this advice plays a huge part in why I do not really fear awkwardness. I don’t fear it because it’s only going to be there if I create it. Growing up, my mom always gave me this advice when I was hesitant about going to a party or going anywhere where I did not really know anyone. She always convinced me that the situation would only be awkward if I made it awkward. I think I am less awkward than the average person because of this advice. Because of this advice, I embrace being in new situations and meeting new people. It definitely helps that I love to talk because it prevents awkward silences or awkward pauses. I never have any problem breaking the silence or creating new conversations because the last thing I want to do is create awkwardness.
5. “Say thank you”
This is the most important lesson my mom has ever taught me. It astonishes me when I go out with people and they fail to say thank you to the bartender or when I hold the door for a stranger and get no reaction. Ever since I can remember, my mom has been ingraining these two words into my brain. Every time she dropped me off at a friend’s house: “Make sure you say thank you.” Every time she picked me up from a friend’s house: “Did you say thank you?” Every time I was given gifts on a holiday: “Don’t forget to write your thank you notes.” Every time the lady at the Del Buono’s counter gave me a fresh roll: “What do you say?” These two words may be small, but they can have a huge impact. I am very grateful that my mom taught me that these two words can never be used too much.
So Mom, thank you. Thank you for your wisdom. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your support. Most importantly, thank you for teaching me these life lessons that play a huge part in who I am today.