My mama told me ...
May 4 2001 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

My mama told me ... | Friday, May 4, 2001
  • I am loved, and worthy of love. My mama said she loved me, and she still does. Children are not born with a healthy sense of self-esteem: it has to be given to them, preferably in large and regular doses. The belief that we are people of worth must grow from the security of knowing that there are other people who believe it to be true and who demonstrate it day after day. No one is in a better position to do this than a mama. Before my infant brain could put two thoughts together, I knew there was a caring person who thought that I was special and my needs were important. As I grew - and until this day - that message has not changed, and its value is unabated.
  • I am responsible for who and what I become. My mama said I could be anything I wanted to be, so long as I was willing to pay the price to get there. I have met many people whose parents have bequeathed negative life scripts like "You'll never amount to anything," or "You're not good enough." I was fortunate to have parents who did not believe in limiting their children's potential. I knew I could be an astronaut if I wanted to be, or a pharmacist, or a missionary. That lesson came with a healthy dose of responsibility, however. My mama said it was up to me to study my lessons and work hard and make something of myself, and that was all I needed to know about that.
  • Sin has consequences. My mama said that when you do something wrong, there is a price to pay. Corporal punishment was rare at our house, but effective when applied. Extra chores were more commonly assigned and equally efficient. An important aspect of this lesson involved a respect for other authorities, including schoolteachers. I knew that, if I got in trouble at school, my parents would not come and yell at the teacher. Rather, they would reinforce the teacher's discipline. I have taught both junior high and high school, and I know that some parents think their sweet children can do no wrong. The problem is, their children know that they can do wrong - and get away with it.
  • Altruism is a virtue. My mama said we ought to help other people. She demonstrated it by the way she helped my brothers and me day in and day out, while also doing what she could to help others in the community. I knew my parents worked extra hours and sacrificed personal pleasures to support my activities and to help me get through college. When I first heard the story of the good Samaritan, the moral of the story came as no surprise because I already knew that being a helper is very important.
  • Nice is better than mean. My mama said you should respect other people and respect their stuff and respect their feelings. I had some classmates who never learned that. Sometimes I get letters now from people who haven't learned that. Being ugly may get your way sometimes, but a victory gained through meanness is no victory. It's not just a Southern thing to believe that it's better to be nice than ugly - you can find it all through the gospels.
  • God is the boss. My mama said we should always respect God in particular. We did that through regular attendance at church and learning to give our tithes and read our Bibles. We learned that God is loving and kind and wants good things for us. We learned that God wants us to accept Him and love Him and obey Him. We also learned that God is the boss whether we accept Him and His teaching or not, and that has a lot to do with all those other lessons.

    I know this is true, because my mama told me so - and I'm glad she did.

  • Friday, May 4, 2001

    My mama told me ...

    By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor There are many things I know because my mama told me so. The approach of Mother's Day provides an appropriate opportunity to review some of those, particularly the ones that are life shaping.
    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    5/4/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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