Papercut artist Deborah Tepper, mother of a 22 year-old son, shares the following:
As parents, my husband and I have had a few mantras to live by, but it’s the following one that I feel is instrumental in shaping our son into the person he is today, has lasted the test of time, and I am most proud of:
“Be a kind person and everything else will fall into place.”
Always keep in mind there is important work to be done. Doing important work creates strength within. When you have inner strength there is room for kindness.
The test of time:
Max at age 6: “A new boy started at school today, he seemed sad, I sat beside him and cheered him up.”
Max at age 16: “He (a friend) is confused and upset. I can only be there as a friend, to listen and to show him I care.”
Max at age 22: “I felt a little frustrated and left behind; not tough enough. But now it’s turned around, my patience and thoughtful approach paid-off. Thanks, Mom!”
Life lessons from being a parent:
Listening carefully to the sound of my child’s voice told me more about his story than his words could express. As a parent when I engaged him in conversation, or when he was ready to talk about something that was on his mind, I wanted him to see that I was present for him. That what he had to say was important.
I’ve always felt that Max was my teacher as much as I was his. I learned so much about myself as a person, trying to figure out the right way to impart some of life’s lessons.
The true voice of authority:
“Max, I never want to hear you use “those” words. If you must use inappropriate language like that, keep it in the playground with your friends, and out of earshot of anyone else around you.”
Max at age 9:
One day, as we were driving in the car, some ding-dong driver cut me off. One big expletive spewed from my mouth. Max turned to me with such a look of disappointment and said with a voice of authority “Mom, I can tolerate that kind of language from anyone else, but NOT YOU!”
The perfect parent? No such thing! With Max now on his own, building on the life-lessons we have sought to impart to each other, I so miss being an everyday mom.
Happy Mother’s Day!