Sunday is Mother’s Day and will mark just over 6 years of my time as a mother. I have two boys – Evan, age 6, and Owen, age 3 – and being their mother is both the most difficult and rewarding job I have. I’ve learned a lot while raising two boys and I’ve slowly started realizing the important life lessons I want to impart in them. Sure I want them to earn good grades and form lasting friendships, but more importantly I want them to lead Christian lives, look for opportunities to do good and know that getting far takes a lot of work. Below are three life lessons I learned from my mom and hope to pass along to the next generation:
- Be a good human – Our society is so focused on grades, jobs and achievements that we seem to have lost the emphasis on values and behaviors. I want my sons to be successful both in school and professionally but none of that should come at the cost of their morals, values or attitude toward others. I want to raise sons who are known as empathetic, respectful and polite young men. Who want to help others, look for opportunities to serve and live the Christian values taught in church. That starts with please and thank you but encompasses so much more. Being the nice kid isn’t always cool but it will get you so much farther than playing the bully.
- Respect hard work – Farming isn’t easy. Sure, technology has made tractors and trucks less energy-intensive to operate but at the end of the day, raising crops and cattle takes time, energy and a whole lot of patience. Both my husband and I work 40+ hour-a-week jobs. We do it because we love what we do and we enjoy the opportunities our jobs and paychecks afford us. But news shoes, fancy toys and exciting trips should never be taken for granted. I want my boys to understand that success comes from hard work and determination and that there is no such thing as a free lunch. We both worked hard to get where we are and they will have to do the same. I want my boys to not just have a good life but a good example of what a lot of grit, perseverance and resolve will get you in life.
- Everyone contributes – We outside a small town. It’s a great town with a great school district. But the city, school and countless non-profit organizations within the community don’t function without the time and talents of resident volunteers. It’s my belief – and one I actively practice and model for my boys – that if you can help, you should. That means serving on committees, volunteering for school events, donating canned goods or using your talents in any way the benefits others. I bring my sons with me on these volunteer opportunities and talk about why it’s important for us to help others and give back to our community. They may not get it now but with time I’m optimistic it becomes a way of life for them as well.
I hope my parental guidance and motherly wisdom extends beyond these three points, but these are some of the core principals I try to live by and hope my sons will as well. I’m not always around, I’m on my phone and sending emails too many hours in the day and I lose my temper too often but it’s my hope that the good outweighs the bad and I raise good kids with big hearts.