What would your mother do? Encourage.

What can one mom even do to make a difference?

We moms need to know this.

Here’s the next part of a short series about all the huge little things moms do. It’s not a contest, but let’s all tell about our memories of those little things that mean so much, that only moms know how to do best.

Watties baked beans and sausages on toast. Fro...

Watties baked beans and sausages on toast. From my on toast series. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My mom encouraged me. I remember one of the first encouragements she gave me, when I really might have needed correction on any other similar occasions: I’d been playing with my food on my plate.

The menu that day was hot dogs and pork ‘n’ beans, so everything I needed was at the table already.

I began stirring relish, ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar into the beans on my plate. After a sample, I told my mom how good it was. She questioned me, I explained, and that’s when it happened: A new gourmet cook was born at that very lunch table. My mom exclaimed that if I could determine exactly what should go into carefully-crafted old style “baked beans”, then I must be a natural-born cook.

I felt pretty pleased with myself and I never forgot it.

Encouragement can go the other way, too, dragging a person up from a low place, where I was during third grade.

It was election time in our country and in school, we had a mock election, dividing the class into three political parties.

It was rigged. All the popular kids were in on party, the brilliant-student-types in another, and we misfits (the sickly, overweight, or otherwise unacceptable ones) were in the third party. I leave you to guess who won, but will add: I perfected the art of sickly by having one of my semi-annual cases of step throat during the vote. Yeah, we came in last. Amazing, no? We’d had such hopes. We did our best. We mined our mom’s ideas for sure-fire campaign tactics, made posters, and delivered speeches, all for naught.

After a phone call to our sick-house regarding the results, my mom so tenderly relayed them to me. I cried. She held me and asked me to try to be a big girl, to think what the other children would think of my crying…

I remember the moment so clearly, like the movie re-run it has always been in my mind. I remember feeling rebellious and sort of amazed at myself for what I said at that point. “I don’t even care what the CRY-BABIES think!”

She did not reprimand me. She did not scold my out-lashing little self. She just held me until it blew over.

And that quiet response told me far more than any words could. She understood. She cared. She had my back.

So when did your mom encourage you? Share.

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6 thoughts on “What would your mother do? Encourage.

  1. faerylandmom says:

    I think, perhaps, the best encouragement my mother ever gave me didn’t actually look like encouragement at the time. It’s a little unorthodox, but it worked. It wasn’t long after I married. I was 3000 miles away from home, and had just had the first BIG fight of my marriage. I called my mother after my husband went to work to cry and complain. She interrupted me, and asked if Levi and I had already worked it out. I responded honestly that we hadn’t, that I just wanted to…*click*.

    Yes. My mother hung up on me. And wouldn’t answer my calls for three days. When she finally picked up, she asked me if we’d worked it out yet. We had, of course, as newlyweds do.

    Her actions spoke loud and clear: “You left home. Now, cleave to that man YOU chose to stand by.” That’s just one example of her encouragement.

    She isn’t much of a verbal encourager. Her actions proclaim her belief in my ability to do things that need doing. Her constant refrain when I was a child trying to learn a life skill? “Figure it out.” Then, she would walk away, confident in my ability to learn what I needed to learn with very little instruction. It worked. I’m a big girl who can figure things out now. 🙂

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