The 12 Best Things My Mother Taught Me

My mother is an awesome teacher, the first and best one I ever knew. When I was growing up, she used words to guide me. By the time I became an adolescent, however, she no longer needed words. She taught by her example.

Here are a few of her most memorable teachings:

1 Spend quality time with your Creator-Redeemer every day. Talk to Him constantly, praise Him, ponder His blessings, and ask Him questions. Make sure to listen for His answers.

2 Read His precious letters to you as often as you can-daily is a good thing. Better yet, memorize the Bible passages that bring you peace. (I love Psalm 17:8: "Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.")

3 Pay an honest tithe (10 percent). Don't tip God. Give liberal offerings. God will take care of your every need. Remember the Almighty's promise: "I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won?t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you!" (Malachi 3:10, NLT).*

4 By the time you retire, make sure you have saved at least $1,000 for each year of your life. You may use that money to invest in IRAs or other funds, but save. Save. Save. (How I hated remembering that mandate during my shopping-for-fun expeditions, but it helped.)

5 Eat healthy meals. Never skip breakfast. Fruit and vegetables are daily essentials. Yes, even turnips and papayas, if that is all you have.

6 Exercise regularly. Find an activity you really enjoy. Do it often, be it walking on snow-laden trails or swimming in danger-infested waters.

7 Walk a mile, figuratively, in somebody else's shoes. You won't begin to understand unless you've been there. Empathize. Empathize.

8 Knowledge is never lost, and learning is exhilarating. (No wonder I have four degrees.)

9 Be a good friend: warm, trustworthy, affirming, and loyal. Remember your friends' special days with a phone call, card, or visit. Whenever possible, give your presence-it's always better than a present.

10 Become the best person you can possibly be. Some women don't need to get married, but what we must all learn is to become the right person. (Mother was right. I discovered that I don't need to dredge each pond to kiss every frog in search of Prince Charming. What I need to work on is being a wonderful me.)

11 Whatever you do, do it well. And happily. A smile is the world's least expensive facelift.

12 It is better to be kind than to be right.

* Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Glenda-mae Greene is a retired educator, having taught in colleges and universities in Canada and the United States. She is the author of Green Pasture Moments for Frazzled Urban Dwellers. Now she and her mother share a house in Palm Bay, Florida, where they are actively involved in women's prayer circles and Sabbath school classes at their church.

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