It’s May. If you’re like me, you find that hard to believe. The year has progressed with blazing speed and as the adage goes, the universe waits for no one. I love May because it ushers in the Star Wars Day, the unofficial start of summer and beach season on Memorial Day and consistently warm temperatures. What I like best, though, is the celebration of Mother’s Day.
Growing up, I have fond memories of my grandmother, who raised me. As a kid, she taught me a lot about character, respect and hard work. Of course, as a teenage boy, I didn’t want to hear any of that, but the lessons she taught me about those three things are the reason I have had any measurable success in life.
I found myself parroting my grandmother a few weeks ago while having a conversation with my teenage son. He didn’t show proper respect to his grandparents, and I was displeased. As we talked, I found myself giving him the same talk about character and reputation that my grandmother had given me. I reminded him that as a young man, his greatest allies are those established adults—parent and grandparent figures—who are invested in his wellbeing, who will look after him into his adult years and be a source of wisdom when he needs a voice to listen to that doesn’t sound like mine. I told him of the numerous time I was able to turn to my grandmother’s friends and the adults she built around me. And if I had grown up a disrespectful son, that support wouldn’t have been there. It was there because they loved her and saw the work she put into me take shape.
Moms are special like that. We don’t always appreciate the message they bring, but that maternal wisdom comes from years of observation. They know good and bad character like the backs of their hands, and they’ll die before they let any son of theirs go into the world lacking respect and empathy.
For all of you mothers who don’t think your boys hear you, they do. And you’ll see just how much after they leave home.