Happy Birthday Mom, Thank You!
I am blessed to have the Mother that I do and not a day goes by do I not encounter something that she has had an influence on. My Mom was hard on me growing up and even though I understood why then, I appreciate it even more as an adult. I will forever be grateful for the relationship we have and all the trials and tribulations we have battled together. With that being said, I wanted to share a couple snippets of influence she bestowed on me at a young age that perhaps anyone would appreciate. Happy Birthday Mom, I love you.
My Mom has always challenged me to honestly distinguish between my wants and my needs. Growing up playing sports I of course wanted the new baseball or basketball shoes that were popular. My Mom explained to me that she was not spending money we don’t have for something that doesn’t provide any value other than a name on the shoe. She told me to work hard and prove to her that I would stick with it and do my best, then MAYBE we could talk about some other shoes. No guarantees. In the mean time it was Rawlings baseball cleats and Spaulding basketball shoes. I didn’t need anything else, it was not necessary. I have countless examples of this from throughout my childhood, and it provided a lesson I have carried with me through my life; find joy and happiness in what is real, simple, and lasting, appreciate what you have that caters to your needs of life and place little importance to your wants. Everyone likes nice things, myself included. But ‘things’ cannot be your source of happiness. Base your importance of ‘things’ on how quickly they can be stripped away.
I will never forget this day. I was 16, training in our garage during the summer and one day I found out I could jump in place and palm the 9’8” ceiling. Keep in mind, I am 5’6”. I was beyond excited and ran inside to get my Mom so I could show her. I got set, did the jump and looked straight to my Mom for high praise and approval. “Is that it?” she asked. “Yeah Mom, that was it.” Back inside she went. I had just saw the results of my work come to fruition, confidence was pouring out! And just as quickly, my Mom humbled me. She was and is a hard person to impress and that brief interaction changed my mindset going forward. Confidence is a great quality. It’s not such a great quality when it is accompanied with an over-bearing ego. Do your work, do it well, and do it for yourself. When your source of motivation is to impress others, you will always yell your feats from the mountain tops. Hard work should exude confidence while at the same time working for yourself will cultivate humility.
“Yes Sir”, “No Ma’am”, “Thank you”, “You’re welcome”. My Mom didn’t want or expect me to be respectful, she demanded it and still does. Of all the things I could thank my Mom for instilling in me, I am most grateful that she set the example and the tone for me to not grow up to be an asshole. When you make eye contact with someone, smile and say hello. It’s not hard. Hold doors for people. It’s not hard. Help people without expecting even a thank you. It’s not hard. Growing up in our house there was never a moment where it was up for debate who was in charge, as it should be. I was fortunate to spend a lot of my youth by my Mom’s side. At home and at work she led by example how to treat others. I paid attention. And I know, you don’t like everyone. That’s ok. I would ask my Mom why she was nice to people that didn’t necessarily deserve it, and she would in turn ask me what good would it do to not be nice? If I didn’t want to be nice, don’t be anything at all she said.