LETTER TO THE EDITOR: A lesson from Mom: ‘If you can’t be corn, don’t be shucks’
The Good Book says that we are to honor our mothers and fathers. This is so important it is listed as No. 5 on God’s Top Ten list of things we should do while on this Earth.
The first four things on God’s Top Ten list (often referred to as commandments) deal with our relationship with God and the last six deal with our relationships with each other. And God lists honoring our parents as the most important thing when dealing with others.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I realize how fortunate I am to have Harvey and Merle as my parents and blessed that they are both still doing well. We just recently celebrated Harvey’s 90th birthday and Mom will be turning 39 again in July. I am their first born so I got to have them all to myself for four years.
Even sharing my parents with Rick, Tami and Tiff has been a blessing, because Mom and Dad found time for each of us, which has made a huge difference in our lives. Since this is the season when we celebrate moms, I want to honor my mom just a few of the events in my life where she made a difference for me.
I am going to skip over the nurturing and caring for me as a baby part because the “macho coach” part of me does not feel comfortable talking about these things in public, but I’ll just say my mom was the best at making me feel loved and cared for every day of my life.
Mom is the heart and soul of this family. She has been the glue that holds things together. There is a sign up in the “party shack” (a building in the back yard of my parents’ house where we hold all our family gatherings) that reads, “Some people call it CHAOS, we call it FAMILY. Mom has been the one constant during all the chaos, oops, family.
You know, a guy doesn’t really recognize how important or impressive his mom is before he reaches the age of 4 or 5, because up until then the only real stuff going on is all that nurturing, feeding and cleaning, etc., that moms do. But at 4, a mom can be impressive. The first impressive thing I remember about my mom was how fast she could run.
When we first moved to Greenway Drive in Darlington, we lived in a house at least 100 yards from the street, where the mailbox was. About noon every day, Mom would walk to the mailbox, and my job was to hold the screen door shut so Rick, the toddler could not fall out the door. One day, she went to check mail and I was holding the door.
I heard the most awful screaming you could imagine. As I looked out the screen door, I could see my mom running in flip-flops from the mailbox as if she was in the Olympics. Mail was flying everywhere. As she got closer, I could make out what she was yelling – “Open the door.” Mom hurdled the steps right through the house. Then I saw what had mom running – it was a 4-foot black snake. The snake was right behind her, and the snake slithered right up under our house.
It took mom a while to calm down after that race to the house, but I was really impressed by the speed she showed on that 100-yard dash.
The next major thing that mom impressed upon me was how important it is to wash your face every morning before school and especially church. If I ever failed to do so, she would she would bring out the Kleenex from her pocketbook, lick it until it became damp, then use that spit rag to scrub every bit of dirt and grime off my face.
Mom is also a very impressive motivator. She uses sayings to make her point, and the meaning of her sayings sticks with you. When I played youth sports, and I would come home discouraged or let down because I wasn’t getting to play or pitch or hit as often as I wanted, she would say, “If you can’t be corn, don’t be shucks.
Her point was that it was up to me to do whatever it took, to be the best second baseman on the team. Her statement applied everywhere, school, sports, Scouts. Do what it takes to be the best you can be. Whatever you do, give it your all and be “all in.” And honestly, she is right. The times in my life when I followed her advice, I became corn and not shucks.
As I have grown older, I have been impressed by how smart my mom is. The first time I left home overnight, other than to my grandparents’ house, was when I went to RA Camp with a church group. Mom told me to mind the counselors because it was their job to be our parents for the week. She said, “Be on your best behavior because you are representing this family. She said if you get a nose bleed, which I did often back then, put tissue paper under your upper lip and lean your head back a bit until it stops.
Then she gave the best advice ever. She said if you get homesick or anything goes wrong, remember Jesus is always there with you. And if you feel afraid at night, which I did, just close your eyes and pray to Jesus to lie with you until you fall asleep. This is true even today as an old man. No matter what fears or storms are before us, Jesus is the answer. In December, I was diagnosed with chronic lymphoma leukemia. If it had not been for Mom’s lessons on the power of Jesus, I would have had no hope. But now through His power, I am being healed and am expecting a full recovery.
Mom also knew it was important for a young man to have some social graces, so she signed me up for Junior Cotillion when I was in 8th grade. I was more into sports then, certainly not into learning to dance, but as I look back, I realize how much self-confidence I developed by being in social settings and learning to dance. I am sure I balked at this, but I am so glad I did it.
Looking back, I can see how my mom was preparing me for adulthood. With every lesson, she was adding feathers to my wings, preparing me for the day that I would take flight and leave the nest.
As we celebrate Mother’s Day, this is a great time for everyone to honor your moms. God gave each of us just one mother. I can never repay my mom for all the sacrifices she made on my behalf, and all the love she has shown me. To all mothers everywhere – Happy Mother’s Day!