I am grateful for my mother. I look up every day and give thanks to my mom for shaping me into a better man. Although she lost her battle with dementia over sixteen years ago, I still feel her influence shining in my life. She was only sixty-four years young when she left a lifetime of lessons on my heart. I can still hear her caring voice when I am feeling sick, or when I need a little extra encouragement. I also hear her loud lecturing voice when I brush crumbs onto the floor, or when I let the dog clean my dirty plate. A mother's advice never leaves our heart or our consciousness, especially when it is imprinted with love. I wonder if most women are aware of the power they possess to shape boys into becoming better men.
Why do young boys want to please their mother? Perhaps the maternal connection is so strong that boys do not want to separate from their mother's love. Young innocent boys strive for their mother's acceptance and approval. I grew up with my mother's pride in my back pocket. She always encouraged me to be kind to others, to love my family and friends, to treat animals and nature with respect and to have fun in life. Her gentle caring soul, warm smile, and soft laughter confirmed that she was teaching me by example. I grew up with a willingness and desire to please my mother.
A mother's care and love can influence the destiny of men. Eventually all little boys grow up, however not all boys become good husbands, fathers and citizens. Those early childhood lessons and experiences can have a profound effect as we mature into adulthood. My mom told me that my good habits would support me in life and my bad traits would hold me back. She taught me that a man with manners, good hygiene, and honed husband skills would be in big demand. She constantly reminded me that “cleaning my room” was good training for me. Now I know what she meant because I take pride in my vacuuming skills and my wife winks in approval. It is the little things that can make a better man.
Honouring and respecting women is one of the most important lessons that mothers can teach their sons. All little boys need to grow up with this essential life skill. My mother was quick to correct my behaviour when I was mean or disrespectful towards my sister. Sibling teasing and rivalry were common occurrences in our home, but I knew that there was a line not to be crossed. During one particular battle over toys, I stepped over the fateful line and I hit my sister. I felt immediate shame and remorse. My mother's disappointment and discipline confirmed that I had broke a cardinal rule. It was an important childhood lesson that has had far-reaching implications in my life. In manhood I support women's rights issues and the movement to end violence against women. Woman are patiently waiting for this shift to a world that embraces gender respect and equality. They need our help and men can play a starring role in this reality show. It is never too late to shape a man into a better man, but mothers know that it is easier to start with boys. Thank you mom; for encouraging me to put the “kind” back into mankind.