What’s something your mom used to say that you live your life by? I’ve reflected on this in anticipation of Mother’s Day and thought I’d share some of the enduring and positive things Mom has taught me.

Boredom vs. Autonomy

Mom taught me that boredom is a personal choice and the mark of a boring person. Because this lesson stuck with me, I have literally never been bored in a waiting room or driving through Western Kansas. I remember being captivated by articles I read in waiting rooms when I was 15- and 16-years-old—an age where boredom is a default state for so many people. I’ve learned all sorts of useful and interesting things under “boring” circumstances because I listened to Mom’s mantra:

“Bored people are boring people.”

If you’re bored it’s your own damn fault. I think a lot of people never really question the belief that boredom is a product of your external circumstances. Mom lead me to reject this idea. Over my combined years, that simple lesson has saved me months of boredom.

A rich internal life requires little of your external circumstances.

On Reading and Art

In a similar vein, Mom imbued me with a love of reading. A good book weighs a couple ounces and can be carried almost anywhere. The love of literature (that stems from the influence of both of my parents—but especially Mom) has been a key influence over who I am, what I do professionally and even the way I parent.

Mom taught me that it’s not acceptable to use “imply” and “infer” interchangeably. Her ideas about the importance of precise and authentic language lead me to believe that when you put pen to paper you can choose to be a steward of the language or you can choose to pander.

Remember how you used to feel when you dreamed you were in school with no pants on? The idea of turning in an article that lacks literary value makes me feel just like that.

On Grace

Mom taught me that you can offer frustrating or disappointing experiences up to God. When I remember that lesson (which can be very hard in the moment) it always helps put things in perspective and be more gracious.

On not being a sissy

Finally, Mom taught me that the absence of a strong work ethic makes you a sissy. The thought of delivering shoddy work or standing around while I’m being paid to be doing something—regardless of lax supervision or expectations—makes me intensely uncomfortable. I feel awkward being idle while others work, even if I’m paying them to do something I can’t do like repairing a household appliance. Whether it’s cleaning the bathroom or writing an article, I always look for something to do if someone else is working around my home or office.

Thanks Mom. I’m lucky as hell to have you in my life.

Read more musings and rants at The Garvington Post.

Posted on: May 10, 2018