We celebrate mothers this month. I’ve given a lot of thought to the women who have influenced and continue to influence my life.
My mother and my sister are two of them. My sister is 10 years older than I am. World War II came between our births.
Now that my mother has passed away, my sister — whether I like it or not — continues to carry the role of telling me what to do. I say that lovingly. I can’t imagine this world without her.
She used to be bossy and pull my pigtails. Now I’ll just call her “concerned.”
The most important role these women have played in my life, however, was providing encouragement. This column does not allow room for me to share the many times I made mistakes and my mother and my sister either ignored my missteps or encouraged me on to better behavior. Or, they told me I could do whatever it was I was trying to do.
My grandmother played an important part of my life, too. Let me explain.
Since I was a small child, I enjoyed writing. At first I composed small notes to my mom, and when my sister moved 800 miles away, I wrote letters to her on my Big Chief tablet. When I spelled the word really “rilly,” or combined letters to make other words resembling Southern pronunciations, she never mentioned them. Today, we get a chuckle from those letters she saved for more than a half century.
There was no spell check or even a personal computer in the 1950s. So I just continued to express myself while practicing cursive writing (and no, for younger readers, I was not cursing). I don’t think cursive writing is taught in school anymore. At least my grandchildren have skipped that class.
When my grandmother asked me to drive her to town one day, I was thrilled to learn she was purchasing a portable typewriter for me. I treasured my small blue typewriter, which was placed in my room that my mom had decorated in pink and white gingham.
Looking back, this investment was huge for my grandmother, but it was also a vote of confidence in my writing and typing ability. Perhaps it was just plain encouragement from her to me.
Although she lived in the same town we did, I often wrote her letters and poems. Never did she mention my grammatical or spelling errors. She just seemed thankful to receive them.
Now, it seems there are women younger than me who cheer me on or write and say inspiring words. Of course, older women and women my age continue to encourage me as well. One of my dear friends my age recently penned a poem for me on my 65th birthday. It was a comical keepsake.
I simply refuse to listen to anyone who chooses to discourage me unless their criticism is valid and they point out areas of my life on which I need to work. However, I find that encouraging words are similar to flies with honey; they’re more apt to draw one’s soul to partake with energy.
As a mother and grandmother myself, I have learned from my role models that my greatest task is to encourage my children and grandchildren. For me, encouragement was subtle and sincere — a lesson well taught by my family.
Nothing, it seems, will strengthen another’s soul giving them confidence to soar high like knowing there are those who believe in them.
After all, the root word of encourage is the word “courage.” Even if our mothering role is over, or has not begun, giving another courage has benefits.
Perhaps it is time we change our corner of the world by passing along courage to others in our corner of the world. With combined efforts, we can began a tsunami of encouragement in this world which so many have written off.
PAM RAINEY is a longtime Denton resident and a real estate agent who has helped many seniors make decisions about living arrangements. You can reach her with suggestions at RpmRny@cs.com or 940-367-1188.