Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Things My Mother Taught Me

Herself speaks.

I was strolling through the interwebs the other night, catching up on Buzzfeed and other such places, and one listicle caught my eye. "People share the most valuable thing they learned from Mom."

I wondered: what is the most valuable thing I have learned from Mom?

There are infinite lessons shared between mother and daughter, and those lessons span a lifetime and beyond. There are the small pieces of advice that seem quite practical and useful: "the three most important things are a good haircut, a good bra, and good shoes." Then there are the larger lessons that are difficult to distill into pithy sayings: those are the lessons have taught me about what kind of person I want to be -- what kind of wife, what kind of mother, what kind of friend.

One thing stands out among all of the things that Mom has taught me, though:

Expand your vocabulary.

This may at first seem trite, almost silly, in the grand scheme of life lessons. For me, though, it is tremendous -- because words are tremendous. Each word is a cell in the body of what I write, and brings with it subtlety and nuance and power. Words: they are magnificent. And I am ever so glad to have learned their value.

She had always wanted words, she loved them; grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape. ― Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

(Graphic found here

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