If there ever was a practical, down to earth, no- nonsense sort of a mother it is mine! Hands down, she wins the prize! Her wisdom for dealing with life and people should automatically qualify her for an honorary ‘life-coach’ degree or be written in a book. If I were to ask her where she had gained her insight, she would probably tell me it came from her mother, my grandma Hanson.

I learned enough from my mother that it is worth passing on. Here are just a few morsels:

One of my earliest memories was when my cat had kittens and one of them died. I took that little kitten outside and began to weep and mourn her sudden passing. This was fine…for a little while. However, the mourning and wailing went on and on. Caught up in the drama of my emotions, I was just flowing with the tears. After quite a season had passed, my mother came out and said “this is enough now, it is time to move on”. She was teaching me that although emotions are a part of life, we are not to let them take us over and rule the day.

I can remember a time that a little friend and I were talking about another friend.  Taking the opportunity to gossip, I flippantly commented, “well, she certainly can be a spoiled brat”. The next day, the friend I had been talking about confronted me with my words. Remembering that my mother had wisely counseled me not to ever say anything behind someone’s back that I wouldn’t be willing to say to their face I responded with, “well, you CAN be a spoiled brat sometimes!” Maybe honesty is the best policy, but it might get a bit messy! From that lesson, mom also taught me that if I talk about someone behind their back, it may very well come back and bite me! No doubt, it did that time!

I also remember when I was maybe in first grade or so and was going to have a birthday party. I told mom who I wanted to invite but to leave out one boy because he had ‘bug’ eyes. My mother looked at me and replied, “well it is often the homely guys that learn to bank on something other than their looks and actually make something of their lives”. By the time she finished straightening out my high and mighty attitude, I felt like inviting this boy to my party would be like having a celebrity show up! I never looked at him the same again.

When I was in Jr. High, I can remember some girls spreading a hurtful rumor about me. I got off of the bus and went inside and told my mother about it. She listened and said “Shelli, people will say lots of things but if you have good character then the people who really know you won’t believe it”.

Another time I was in high school and had a friend wanting me to go to a rodeo with a couple of boys who neither of us wanted to go out with! She had gotten herself stuck in this situation and begged me to come along so she wouldn’t be alone. So, loyal friend that I was, I agreed to go. The weekend of the rodeo was coming up and then the unthinkable happened! A boy who I was dying to go out with was coming to town and wanted to take me out that same night! Boy, did I ever need permission to dump the rodeo date! So, I unwisely asked my very wise mother what I should do. She was no help at all. Her response? She told me that of course it would be wrong to break a date with one boy because I got a ‘better’ offer. She asked me what was the right thing to do? Reluctantly I turned down the date with Prince Charming. But hey, he and I ended up going out the next day, so all’s well that ends well!

My mom was the first one to stick up for someone being picked on. When the famous christian and celebrity Anita Bryant got divorced it created a lot of fodder for everyone to weigh in on. I added my two cents worth and was ashamed when my mother asked me if I knew Mrs. Bryant’s business and details of her life that I felt I had a right to weigh in? I stood corrected. When my friend came over to tell me that she was a pregnant teenager, she wanted to talk to my mom as well. My mother showed her nothing except grace and modeled it well to me.

She displayed a great sense of humor and adventure. Dad was the one who led them on many moves and endeavors but she was always game to support him. She didn’t whine and bawl, refusing to move away from her family. She knew what it meant to go where the job was and make the most of it. She was his partner and what they did they did together.

When we did move, we did it as a family. If it was in the school year towards the end, she would stay and wrap things up but classmates and schools did not take priority over us being a family and joining Dad. Dad was first priority and we were next. She encouraged her husband to be all he could be and did not nag and criticize trying to tear him down. She would never allow her children to pit her against her husband. Both my parents may have hashed out behind closed doors with how they should deal with us but they stood together as a team and we couldn’t divide them.

She wasn’t perfect and no doubt she and dad had their arguments, but I rarely heard them. Why? Because they knew that they should not make their marriage conflicts a burden on their children. It was their issue to iron out between themselves in private. She respected my dad greatly. She has been quick when I express annoyance with my husband over some little thing, to remind me what a good man he is and to put it in perspective.

One time mom was irritated with her mother-in-law and she said something to her own mother about it. Grandma told her “that may be so but just remember, she raised the man you love”. She handed that lesson down to me as well.

My mother never completed college but she has more wisdom and common sense than most counselors I know. She has relational life skills that have proven to work and I got to benefit from them for free!

A lot of these sort of tributes are read at funerals but I decided mine should be shared now, so that she never doubts what an incredible gift from God she is! Thanks mom, for being such a great life coach, it has served me well many times!


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