Don't blame your bad behavior on anyone else but yourself.
Life being curvy as it can be, I grew up with a dad who was out of town. It was different, as back then most of my friends had a dad in house. But it was ok. My dad did a good job of being a part of our lives.. And as it turns out, I had a major blessing. I had a hard working and loving mom. She was underpaid...she was overworked....and (at the time) she was under appreciated. She's not under appreciated anymore.
She taught me the most valuable lessons. More on that in a moment.
While we struggled and often did without, that's not how I remember those days.
I remember love and laughter. I remember my mom coming in after a 10 hour day....taking a few prized minutes on the couch to catch her breath....and then zooming into the kitchen.
And my mom was an amazing cook.
I remember great smells, and happy meal times. My mom and sister and I, with the dishes on the table, just eating and talking. My mom always asked how our day went (a tradition I now do with my kids every day.) And while I would so often tell her "...we just learned 'school stuff'...", she would patiently make me tell her something I had learned that day. It forced me to realize that I HAD learned something. My mom is very smart.
After dinner, she'd make sure we helped clean the dishes. Seemed like a real imposition at the time. Turns out, it was another invaluable life lesson, as we now teach our kids their responsibilities in helping keep our home clean.
And do you know what I remember next?
After working harder than a man in a man's world and being paid less for it.....after coming home and making a feast out of meager supplies....my mom would THEN start ironing clothes for us to wear to school and for her to wear to work. And as we took our sleepy heads up the stairs to bed, I'd hear her spending the next few hours washing clothes and cleaning the house.
I also remember her going without so that we could have a little bit more.
So was I disadvantaged?
It's all perspective.
To some, sure. We didn't have a lot of money. But I was blessed with an amazing mother and the proximity of loving and attentive grandparents. That's worth more than gold.
And she gave me other precious gems.
I clearly remember my mother constantly saying:
"We may not have much, but we'll always have each other."
And we did.
And she'd say:
"We may only have a dirt floor, but it will be swept clean".
She faithfully planted seeds. I get to harvest them.
I learned to work hard. I learned to not expect to have anything handed to me. I learned to take care of what you have because it was hard to come by. I learned to go to church when the doors were open. I learned to go to sleep even when I heard other kids out too late getting into trouble.
And now I'm teaching those things to my kids without even meaning to.
I believe that we're a product of our environment. Whatever is poured into us will one day flow back out. And that's critical information for parents today.
Love your kids and spend time with them. They'll learn that's how it's done and will one day do the same to their children.
Scream at your kids, focus more on yourself, and treat your spouse with disrespect? Guess what? So will you children one day.
It all gets paid forward.
Now, let me add this:
No matter WHAT life has handed you, you are responsible for yourself. And that means no matter WHAT you experienced as a child, EVENTUALLY YOU HAVE TO GROW UP AND DO THE RIGHT THING.
So many people have rough circumstances. In fact, I would say MOST of us. In FACT, I would say that those who YOU think have a "perfect life" are in fact suffering just like the rest of us.
We all have problems.
But it's up to YOU to MAN (or WOMAN) up....set your compass straight....and put your feet back on solid ground.
Your encouraging word for the day:
Expect bumps and falls. Pick yourself up. Dust yourself off. Learn from it. And make things better.
It's a priceless investment for your kids.
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