Words of wisdom
Words of wisdom
8 May 2022
Others Magazine asked a range of people to reflect on lessons passed down from their mums. Here’s their responses.
Growing up, I have been blessed to be raised by a strong, loving, selfless, and devoted mum, a woman who is strong and proud of her identity as an Aboriginal woman. I have countless fond memories of my childhood and growing up, but the biggest impact that my mum has had on my life has always been [her] never-ending support, wisdom, knowledge, and [being] a best friend. These combined have shaped me into my identity and who I am today. I couldn’t be more grateful. Traditionally and culturally, our grandmothers play a significant role in mothering. Strong and special bonds are formed. I always viewed my grandmother as my second mother, and my great-grandmother played the very same role as my mum. These bonds allow for teaching, story sharing, and wisdom to be passed down to keep our culture and identity strong. It has always provided me with a safe space to engage in ‘women’s business’. It is this cultural tradition that I value most. I cannot wait until my daughter is born so that my mum can carry on this tradition – how proud she will be to hold such a significant role. I love that my daughter will experience the amazingly strong woman that has given me so much.
My mother taught me to stand up for myself and silence negative voices. By choosing to pursue healing, growth, and knowledge, she has shown me that a strong woman exercises boundaries and shows compassion. Plus, she never forgets how to have fun.
My mum, Yvone, is in her 80s and very frail. She is bedridden and lives in a nursing home. But she has lots of time on her hands now and always answers the phone when I call and is up for as long a chat as I can manage. She is interested in my life and asks lots of questions. She cares about even the slightest health issue I may have and always thinks I’m fabulous. Despite living 1000 kilometres away and her failing body, my mum is still super positive and my biggest fan.
Say something nice
My mum always told me and my brother that if we couldn’t say anything nice about anyone, then not to say anything at all. Over time, it did make me think more about being judgmental and gossiping and that there are usually two sides to every story. As an adult, I now think twice before I say something about another person, and I’m sure Mum’s words have helped me to realise that most people are doing the best they can and are just trying to get through life.
Support and encouragement
I was born with a physical disability, but my mum made sure I knew that it didn’t need to stop me from doing what I wanted to in life. This wasn’t without its challenges, but Mum was always encouraging and supportive. She helped me find alternative ways to do things and found specialists and others who could help me medically, socially, and spiritually. As I got older, she has also helped me accept certain limitations and develop other strengths.
Dad left Mum for another woman when my sisters and I were little, and she then had to work long hours to make ends meet financially. We always had everything we needed, and she even made sure we had a relationship with Dad if we wanted one. I don’t think she ever fully recovered from the pain of the affair and divorce, but she made sure the impact on the kids was as minimal as possible. I am grateful for that, but sorry it cost her so much. Now, as she is finally starting to do things for herself, I am even more grateful for, and aware of, the need for self-care, especially in the face of trauma.
Mum had come to appreciate and accept the myriad of people who came across her path. The lesson was to look beyond the exterior and see the precious child of God they really were. My mum had learnt that people ultimately long to be loved. Her principle was that she was God’s representative wherever she went to love people. Her desire was that I understood that I could have many gifts and be clever at lots of things, but if I didn’t love people, it was all for nothing. Erring on the side of mercy was a lesson Mum shared with me in the final years of her life. She had learnt the lesson that, as God had extended mercy to her through Jesus’ death and resurrection, so she too must be merciful to others. So much in our world is about condemning and pulling down. Mum’s principle was that if you have a choice – choose to show mercy. She taught me that if you really look, you will find things to be grateful for in every situation and reminders of a God who is good.