“The woman who is a good wife, a good mother, is entitled to our respect as is no one else; but she is entitled to it only because, and so long as, she is worthy of it.”
- Teddy Roosevelt. “On American Motherhood” (1905).
I was one of the lucky few. My mom made it her mission to make sure that she did everything she could do to raise a gentleman. As a prideful young man I often did not heed her advice. But as I grew older I began to appreciate why she was purposeful in how she raised us kids. As a husband of a beautiful wife and young children of my own, I now know she was preparing me to be a a good husband, a good father, a good friend, and good employee. Here’s 20 lessons my mother told me repeatedly and even more importantly demonstrated with her own life. Becoming a gentleman is more caught than taught. And men and women are responsible to raise up gentlemen.
1. Nothing that’s handed to you in a silver platter is worth having. And nothing worth having will be handed to you. Fight for what you want.
2. If you have to fight, hit first. And hit hard. My mother was so tender until she saw her kids were in danger.
3. There is no such thing as having too much fun.
4. A mother that prays for her children is a force to be reckoned with.
5. There is a big difference between listening and being quiet while waiting for your turn to talk. Listen to what others have to say. Listen whole-heartedly and carefully.
6. A real man holds the door for others, always. No exceptions.
7. You can learn a lot about the core of a man by how he treats people who are serving him.
8. Most of the world’s problems can be solved with home cooking and chocolate brownie.
9. Slow down. Life is passing you by. It really does go by fast. Love the ones you got.
10. Good people do bad things. And the older you get the more obvious that becomes.
11. But remember bad people do good things.
12. You really don’t need that fifth glass of whiskey. Have it anyway. You are loved by your mama. Just don’t be stupid.
13. You become like the company you keep. So choose your friends wisely
14. Make mistakes. Lots and lots of them. But learn from every single one. You may fail at things from time to time. But you can always come home and you are still loved.
15. Travel as often as you can. Visit places you’ve always dreamed of going to, but don’t neglect the places you’ve never heard of. Go to that country in Africa whose name you can’t pronounce. But make sure you tell your mama you are ok when you get there.
16. Live your life with some passion, with some drive.
17. Confidence comes from preparation. In life, in love, and at work.
18. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
19. Dress for the occasion. Always. It’s a sign of respect for how you were brought up. It also shows those you are with that you value their company enough to shower, shave, and put on that brand new shirt.
20. Call your mom. Call her often. Write her letters. And make sure you Honor Your Mother….And you will live well in the land.
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