Sunday, July 7, 2013

Things My Mom Taught Me

Today marks ten years since my mother, Trina Farris Nall, passed away.  She was only 60 years old.  She and my father had come to visit us the previous week at our new home in Cynthiana, Indiana, and had spent a few days with us around the July 4th holiday.  She had been struggling with a lot of health issues for several years and really looked very unwell during the whole time she was with us.  As she was leaving on July 7, 2003, she hugged and kissed me and told me that she was proud of the man that I had become.  She died of a heart attack at Vanderbilt University hospital in Nashville before the day was over.

I spoke at her funeral a few days later.  I recently ran across my notes from my talk and I'd like to share these with you:

Things My Mom Taught Me

  1. There are a lot of things more important in this life than money.  Proverbs 22:1 states "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold  She taught me the importance of integrity, faith, and family.
  2. Love of learning. Though she only had a high school education, she actually never stopped learning and was always trying to improve her mind.  She taught me to love literature even as a small child.  She spent countless hours reading to my sister Lori and I when we were small, and she was always reading a book or two herself.  She and I spent many hours playing Scrabble (2013 note-she would have loved being able to play Scrabble online!)
  3. Love of all types of music.  There always seemed to be some kind of music going on in our home.  It might have been hymns, country, pop, or classical.  It really gave me an eclectic taste in music.
  4. She taught me to participate in politics, not just criticize those in power.  She and my dad
    imparted to me a conservative political philosophy, but also encouraged me to think for myself.  And vote.  You don't have a right to criticize the government if you don't participate yourself.
  5. Always keep a sense of humor.  She kept her sense of humor right up to the end of her life.  Even though she had many reasons, she never allowed herself to become bitter.
  6. Keep your fingernails clean so people won't think you're white trash.
  7. Don't be prejudiced.  The color of a person's skin has nothing to do with who they are.  It's whats inside that counts
  8. Your wife is not your slave.  She taught Lori and I both how to keep house and cook meals.  There is no "man's work" and "woman's work."  Just work.
  9. Don't disciple your children in anger.  She and Dad would always explain to us what we were being disciplined for.  And, by the way, they weren't afraid to spank.  They would make it hard enough to bring us to repentance, but not so hard as to harm us in any way.
  10. The importance of fatherhood.  She always built my father up in our presence.  I never once remember her belittling him in any way in front of us.  She gave him his rightful place in our home.  My dad taught me how to be a father, but she also played a key role in this.
  11. Don't fight in front of the kids  I know she and my dad had disagreements, but they always kept them away from us.
  12. Love your kids no matter what they do.  She always showed unconditional love to Lori and I.  When I grew up, I didn't stay with the religious denomination that she and my family and and her family before her had been in.  This made no difference in her love for me.
  13. Don't try to make your kids in your mold  Allow them to be themselves.  
  14. The importance of the Bible, God's Word.  The Bible was a very special book to her, and it became even more special to her in her latter years.
  15. Go to church whether you feel like it or not.
  16. Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.
I miss her.  I miss being able to talk to her and to get her insight on the world around us.  When you lose a parent, your really lose a part of your past.  I long to ask her about things that happened way back when.  I miss her being able to see her grandchildren all grown up and her great-granchildren, that she would have loved so much.  However, she has left a legacy in my life and in my sister's life that still goes on today.  

P.S.  I recently came across Mom's old bible.  I found a sticky between the pages of Luke with "Luke 6:38" written on it.  This scripture obviously meant something to her in her final days.  Probably one of the last things she read is certainly something she practiced in her life:

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you"

Want to read more?  Here's links to some of my more popular posts:
Reflections On 30 Years of Marriage-Part 1
My Take On "The Bible" Series
Abolition and Abortion
A Colossal Failure 

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