Growing up, my mother was always the glue that held our family together. She had the most consistent job, working as a teacher for essentially the entirety of my life up until this point (happy retirement, Mom!). She made dinner every night. She took care of my brother and I. She knew each of us — my dad, my brother, and me — and knew how to celebrate, how to console, how to inspire, how to nurture, how to love.
My mom taught at the school my brother and I eventually went to and graduated from. That school had a dress code. Or perhaps I should say that over the 14 years I went there that school had several dress codes, as it was not always consistent. But what was consistent, at least to my memory, was that my mom always followed the dress code, even though it applied to students and not teachers. She didn’t feel comfortable enforcing a rule she herself was not willing to follow. This was also her parenting style. I cannot recall a single instance of “do as I say, not as I do”.
She is a lifetime student. Somehow, juggling all these other responsibilities, she has accrued three master’s degrees. She makes time to read her Bible every day and always has a book (or two, or three) on some spiritual topic that she’s working through. She will happily and attentively listen to people talk and teach on topics that she is more knowledgeable and more qualified on, and if there’s at least one nugget of information there that’s new to her she will write it down and remember it.
My mom’s greatest desire is that my brother, my dad, and I be happy. She is a loving and respectful mother-in-law to my wife and my brother’s wife. She’s a doting grandmother to her grandchildren.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.Philippians 2:3-4
If there’s any part of me, however small, that chooses to turn away from pride and selfishness and our culture’s admonishment to look out for #1, it comes from my mom as I observed her imitating Christ. I know that this example will not end with her. My heart’s desire is to give my mom the gift of seeing her legacy of selflessness reap rewards through generations as I work to lead my family from the same principles, in the same way.
(As evidence of her selflessness, my mom has read every blog post I’ve ever made, even the longwinded and not very good ones. Thanks for being my most loyal and consistent reader, Mom!)