Happy Mother’s Day!

Most of us have been blessed with great mothers.  And it’s hard to over-emphasize the importance of the roles they played during our formative years.

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It was our mothers who gave us unconditional love and constant encouragement, our mothers who taught us how to read and the importance of saying “please” and “thank you,” and our mothers who were there when we came home from school, making our house a warm and loving place.    It was our mothers who bought the outfits we wore and made our breakfasts and packed our school lunches and snapped the photos that went into the family albums.  In the rankings of influential people in our lives, mothers are always going to be somewhere at the top of the list.

Many of us tend to take our parents for granted.  After all, they were always there, as our mothers and fathers, doing the stuff that Moms and Dads do, and it’s not hard to forget that they had lives before we arrived on the scene.  But they did, and at some point they made the conscious decision to become mothers and fathers and take on a crucial, lifelong commitment that would never have existed otherwise.  Without those decisions, we wouldn’t be here.  As the years have passed, with both of my parents gone, I’ve thought about that more and more, and wished there was some way I could repay them for everything they did — but of course that opportunity has passed.

I had a great Mom, and I’m married to one, too.  Here’s to all of the great Moms out there who are doing the essential things that mothers do to help mold the decent, caring people we encounter every day.  Happy Mother’s Day!

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Happy Mother’s Day!

img_5099Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers out there!  Happy Mother’s Day to my lovely wife, who has been an awesome mother, to my own dear mother and to my two wonderful grandmothers, who live forever in my thoughts (and in the expressions and sayings I use every day), and to the generations of mothers who preceded them whose love, hard work, nurturing, perseverance, sacrifice, and daily guidance were instrumental in producing the modern-day Webner clan.

You know, when you think about it, a card, some flowers, and a box of candy really don’t adequately recognize what mothers do for us and for our society.  But then, some debts really can’t be satisfied with material items.  All we can do for our mothers is love them right back, and try to live up to the standards they set and the instruction they provided.  And take a day like today to think about how much our mothers have meant, and try our best to show them we appreciate it.

 

Hot Cereal On A Cold Morning

As I was on this morning’s walk, inwardly grumbling about the 10 degree temperature with face stiff from the brutal chill, I heard my mother’s voice.  “On a cold morning, nothing is better for you than hot cereal,” she said.

It’s true.  Mom was right up there with the Quaker Oats guy in advocating for hot cereal as a crucial part of the cold weather diet.  Every year, at some point around Halloween and responding to some innate motherly weather instinct that was beyond the ken of little kids, she would declare that the hot cereal season had begun.  In explaining why, she would use phrases like “fortified against the cold” and “stick to your ribs” — but in any case her declaration had the force of law.  From then on the Webner kids ate nothing but oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, Maypo, Malt o’ Meal, and Coco Wheats until, months later, the winter weather finally broke and Frosted Flakes would once again appear on the kitchen countertop.

They say a boy should always listen to his Mom, and I’d hate to be a disobedient son, so today I’m making some oatmeal with blueberries, brown sugar, and pecans for breakfast.  And because I’m now a grown up, a cup of steaming hot coffee and some orange juice sound good, too.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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I’ve been very lucky in the mothers department, so to help mark Mother’s Day, 2016, I wrote this bit of doggerel:

Thanks to the Mothers

Thanks to the mothers in all of our lives

Who loved us, hugged us and gave us high fives

Who bundled us up against every chill

00020295And helped push us to the top of the hill

Who dressed us up for the special occasions

And offered advice and friendly persuasions

Who kissed the boo-boos and wiped the tears

And endured the sullen teenage years

Who fretted and worried about every ill 

And somewhere, we know, are doing so still

Be they Grandma, or Mom, or my lovely wife

I’m grateful for the mothers I’ve had in my life!

 

Another Reason To Be Thankful For Your Mother

Here’s another reason to add to the infinite list of reasons to be thankful for your mother:  she didn’t drop you off at Grandma’s house before suiting up, declaring her allegiance to a terrorist group, and then heading off to conduct an inexplicable massacre of innocent people.

the-empty-crib-mourning-a-miscarriageThat is the most astonishing aspect of the apparent back story of the San Bernardino shooters: one of them was a new mother who allegedly dropped her child off at her mother-in-law’s house before heading out for a murderous rampage with her husband.

People used to refer to the “maternal instinct” — the notion that there was an innate impulse, possessed by every mother, to love and fiercely guard her children.  It’s an old-fashioned concept, and probably passe in modern times, but the San Bernardino attack certainly undercuts its presumed existence.  No one with “maternal instincts” could knowingly bring explosives and weaponry into the home where she was raising an infant and then callously drop off the kid before blazing away at strangers.

President Obama, and others, frequently respond to terrorist incidents by talking about our “shared values” — as if all of the people of the world had the same perspective on things.  Of course, we don’t all have “shared values”; that’s the problem.  San Bernardino puts the lie to that concept as well.  How can we reasonably speak of “shared values” if something as fundamental as a mother’s love can be overcome by a terrorist ideology?  If we can’t trust a mother to stick with her child . . . well, what can we trust?

Happy Mothers’ Day

00019488Here’s to the Moms, past and present,

who wiped your bottom and wiped your nose,

who kissed the boo-boo and made it better,

who cooked your favorite meal on your birthday,

who had the best Halloween candy on the block,

who cried when you went off to college, and

whose special kind of love is always there.

Happy Mothers’ Day!

If You Want To Seem Smarter, Listen To Your Mom

If you want to seem smarter to your co-workers and new acquaintances, what should you do?  According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, a growing body of research shows that you would do well to listen to your inner Mom and follow her advice.

Raise your hand if you remember your Mom telling you to sit up straight and look her in the eyes when you were talking.  It turns out that those are two of the visual clues people focus on in deciding whether a person speaking is intelligent.  It’s not hard to understand why people have that reaction:  those who slouch look slothful and undisciplined and speakers who don’t make eye contact seem shifty and deceptive, whereas people who sit up straight and look you in the eye seem engaged, interested, direct, and honest — all qualities that are associated with intelligence.

According to the article, other behaviors that projected intelligence included having self-confidence, being responsive in conversation and not over-talking, using clear language and not unnecessary big words, and — and this is a key one — admitting it when you don’t know something and asking for help rather than trying to fake it.  You can bet that, in most situations, your audience will include someone who knows that you’re just trying to bluff your way through and your credibility will take a hit.

Oh, and one other cliche actually turns out to be right:  the research shows that observers inevitably conclude that people who wear eyeglasses are smarter.  No word, though, on whether darker frames are correlated with higher presumed IQ.