The good Lord blessed me with an amazing Mother. She nurtured me through my childhood and was supportive in my endeavors throughout her life. Mother passed along some wonderful words of wisdom that have help guide me to a more joyful life. But not only did she gift me with her words, she taught me by her actions. Her three basic teachings were:
1) It is more blessed to give than receive. While growing up, I constantly saw my mother doing for others: us children, my dad, as well as many of the less fortunate people in the community. She gave of some of our limited resources and also gave her time and energy. She volunteered as my homeroom mother, taught Sunday School and was a member of the civic organization, The Eastern Star. My mother loved to help others. It was never a burden to her. On the contrary, I’d see a fresh pep in her step when she got home from one of these activities. Through her example, I have come to know that “we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
2) Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Mother had a heart of gold. She always made sure our customers were well taken care of and that the food was more than they hoped for! There are many ways she could have cut corners at our restaurant but it would have cut down the quality of the food. She believed that people deserved to get good value for what they ordered. And boy, did she deliver! She was well known for her fried chicken, her pies and her renown strawberry shortcake! She took pride in what she did and we had many repeat customers because of her care.
But she also used cooking as a way to show others that she loved and cared about them. If someone was in crisis, Mother would visit them with a pie or a cake and offer an ear to listen to their plight. She continued this practice well into old age.
This example influenced me in business and in my personal life. I always make sure my business dealings are fair for all concerned. In business, when you “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” it’s more than creating customers, it’s about creating great relationships. To be more successful, creating and nurturing long-lasting relationships will lead to more sales, better customer satisfaction, and referrals.
3) Be kind and love one another. Because my siblings and I are close in age, as children we would often play together. Most of the times, things went without any problem. But, there were occasions that we would have differences of opinion and an argument would ensue. After letting us kids try to resolve it and seeing that it was at somewhat of an impasse, Mother would sit us down and tell us to just be kind to one another. She said that we would be much happier if we did and that the other person would feel much better too. One of her favorite expressions was, “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, so be sweet!” Usually, she would conclude her lesson to us by saying, “Love conquers ALL; so love one another.”
Through the years, implementing these three teachings have brought me much joy and happiness.
On this Mother’s Day, I want to thank you, Mother, for taking the time to not only teach me, but model, for me, these lessons in wisdom.