I love to quote the Bible. Although to be honest: most of the time, I ‘closely’ quote it rather than ‘exactly’ quote it; but you get my point. Quoting the words of someone more informed and more qualified than I am is a technique that I learned in my early years. My first recitation was a single word: “no.” I learned that word from my mother, who told me she used it frequently when imparting wisdom and discernment.
I’m pretty sure that almost everything I said throughout my first five or six years was a quote from my mom. Well . . . there was that one word I learned from the neighbor boy. When Mom heard me repeat him, she promptly imparted her “no” word of wisdom; and that quote was permanently removed from my repertoire. Before I went off to school, Mom knew everything.
Primary school broadened my horizons. I discovered that Mom knew a lot but not quite everything. Teachers and textbooks, companions and clubs, movies and music: my quote quotient was quickly quantifying. Mom’s advice to me while I practiced my new found information was, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Her advice generally meant that I was not getting smarter if I didn’t treat my friends with love.
Secondary school exposed me to a plethora of new ideas. I was becoming convinced that Mom did not know it all. My quote quota was taking quantum leaps. I cited Shakespeare for my teachers and The Beatles for my friends. I mimicked popular comedians’ comedy skits when seeking to evoke laughter and repeated poetry from Byron or Keats when attempting to appear intellectual. Mom’s quote for me: “This above all, to thine own self be true.” She warned me not to compromise who I was or ignore my conscience just to get ahead.
College days unveiled a universe of discoveries. My opinions about Mom’s advice went through several stages, but mostly I wondered if the things Mom knew had just become outdated. New peer groups and new ideologies challenged my traditional upbringing. New quirky quotes tempted me to quit on the old sayings. Yet, her values lingered as I thought of her words, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
I married in my early 20’s and became the mother of five by the time I reached 35. Assuming the role of mother brought about a renewed appreciation for my mom’s words. I became increasingly convinced that Mom might just know a lot, after all. I no longer wanted to quibble over the quotes in my quiver. I even moved to the point of asking Mom before making decisions. After all, “Time has a way of telling the truth.”
Now I am both a mom and a grandmother. Whereas my quest for good quotes continues and I have found an endless supply in the scriptures, I have replaced my mother in the role of purveyor of the proverbial and supplier of the sayings. I wish Mom was still here to rehearse one more time the old wisdom that formed the core of who I am. Although the sound of her voice may be silenced, the echo of her words continues to replay. I still hear her quotes and my children and their children are still instructed by them, too.
Quoting the words of someone more informed and more qualified than I am is a technique that I learned in my early years. Mom taught me to respect wisdom. Mom taught me to honor those who share their wisdom. Mom taught me to remember, rehearse, and retell wisdom. Maybe she knew that this life skill would eventually lead me to honor God, learn His word, and quote His wisdom. Thanks to Mom and the Bible, my quote for this day is “Children, honor your father and your mother.”
Wishing all Moms a Happy Mother’s Day!