The Most Important Things My Parents Didnt Teach Me –
As I write this I realise that in order for it to make sense I will have to share some basic facts and information. 1. My mother died before I got sick 2. My parents were workaholic-post depression children (1940s) who believe(d) money was the most important thing in life and would lead to happiness and security. 3. They did the best they could on the education and experiences they had. 4. What they knew and understood of life was contained within their farm and their bible and lastly, 5. I love(d) my parents.
That said, I am also the result of all the things that my parents never taught me or prepared me for and that is why I am so proud of what I have learned by myself and with help of some wonderful people and life changing events.
My parents believe(d) that work and working hard was the answer to everything and for everything. If you were sad, you worked. If you felt alone, you worked. If your marriage was breaking down, you worked. If you encounter something difficult and challenging in life… you worked long hours. I admire their work ethic but it did nothing for building confidence and the ability to face the things that are hard and fill us with fear and insecurity.
In our family we didn’t talk about life, troubles, opinions, self reflection or self awareness; we worked. My mother was the type of person that showed her love by ‘criticizing and comparing’ and wanting us to be ‘successful’ in business. To the rest of the world she was a fun, hard working, focused and a strong personality, and she was all of those things, but her fear of doctors and confronting problems with heavy emotions and risk meant that she never went to the doctor, (never took us to a doctor) and she died of cancer only several weeks after diagnosis. Had she taken care of her health things MAY have gone differently; we will never know. But she kept herself busy working instead. Many people don’t realise how truly challenging and difficult farm life can be. Certainly not cattle farming, in the middle of a long drought. But that was her way and that was her life choices.
The irony that since she died and I have had to deal with so many doctors, several diseases, emotionally challenging times, loss of identity, physical limitations, loss of work, rediscovering myself, making a peace with the past, and forging new relationships and realities has been amazing since most of the tools that I have used to achieve all this has not come from my childhood but my determination to survive.
My mother DID teach me to laugh at yourself, love animals (they give more than they take) and she displayed an unyielding belief in herself, which I have slowly cultivated over the years and trials. She DID teach some lessons which I am forever grateful for…
You see, if I was to have had children myself, now, after my own experiences, my focus would be to teach them to value the things money CAN’T buy. Loyalty and love can not be bought. You are more than your physical abilities. Life can change in an instant; no matter where you are or what you are doing. The person you need to know and accept most of all is yourself; don’t be ashamed of being who you truly are and celebrate it. Don’t waste your time around people who don’t accept you and cherish who you really are. Forgiving yourself teaches us how to forgive others. The most influential people in your life can be found anywhere. Learn to like your own company. There are worse things in life than dying. Success is not something you can count with money or things; it can only be measured by how much you love yourself and the quality of the relationships in your life.
Sadly, I disagree with how my mother regarded and revered work. Work is only meant to help us do things in life, it is not meant to be our life. There is no amount of money that will buy back a loved one when they are gone, a heart when it is broken, health when it is gone, peace when you need it most and loyalty when your life depends upon it.
No matter how much she may not have taught me or done while we were together, she is still my mother and I am proudly her daughter and sometimes the most important lessons our parents teach us are the things they let us learn for ourselves.
To my darling mother,