In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m thanking my mom for the 5 best lessons she taught me. Mary Powell – this one is for you!
Small Town Leadership Lessons learned from my mom
- The value of hard work – in addition to your full-time job and raising two kids, you were our house cleaner, cook, gardener and community leader. You showed me how to prioritize, be efficient, and roll my sleeves up and help.
- Importance of family mealtime – Tactically, you taught me how to have a meal mostly prepped so that after school and work we could quickly sit down and eat as a family. Emotionally, you showed me that supper time was time to share and laugh. This is still a top lesson, even if your favorite question to ask at the end of the meal was “what do you want for supper tomorrow?” This inspired my other post What’s for Supper?
- How to sew– You should have received a 20-year 4-H member award for helping two girls get through 10 years each of 4-H sewing projects. From “Joyful Jumper”, to “Spectator Sportswear” to not one, but 2 prom dresses – thank you for your patience and persistence. We could have shown up to the county fair with crooked hems and off-center buttons, but you made us correct our mistakes. These lessons in patience and problem solving stick with me today. 30+ years later this still comes in handy when my kids ask me to make them crafts like this.
- Never hovering, but always being there when I needed you– Now that we are in the age of helicopter parents, I want to say thank you for not hovering. You let me wander on my own and find my way – only correcting my course on occasion. I’ll never forget getting my first “B” on a 4-H cooking project because the judge was convinced you did the project for me. (For those non-4Hers, a “B” is a rarely awarded low grade.) You didn’t jump in to correct the situation and tell them they were wrong. Instead, that “B” ribbon hung on my poster and served as a sign that I would need to live with the perception of others, even if they were 100% wrong. That lesson was more important than having the grade reversed.
- Putting passion into action – My sister and I were once having a conversation where we began with complaining and then pivoted to solutioning. I then said, “Where do we get this passion for action?” She immediately said that mom instilled this trait in us. The thing we learned while growing up was that it is okay to complain, but only if you are willing to provide a solution to the problem and help put it into action. This has been a crucial lesson as I’ve taken on increasingly complex leadership roles in corporate America and in my community. Venting feels good for a while, but then it must be turned into a solution. We saw you and dad go through this process over and over as you talked about your jobs, church and volunteer work. You showed us that nothing gets done by sitting on the sidelines!
Thank you, mom!
If you haven’t thanked your mom today, let this serve as inspiration!