The Wise Words of Mother may have come to you as lecture during stubborn teenage years, or may have been screamed into your face during a riotous childhood tantrum. But it usually takes that one moment of clarity, many years later, for you to remember what Mom had to say. It pops into your brain suddenly, and you know after all these years, with absolute certainty, and complete humility, “Wow, Mom was right!” It’s like a bit of clear sky breaking through the clouds, or the electricity suddenly switched on after an outage, or discovering the elastic pant.
I was moping around the other day while attacking a terrible pile of dishes when my mom whispered to me from the past. I was lamenting in my head: Dishes are the worst thing ever, if only I had a dishwasher, I hate cooking without a dishwasher, I’m so tired all the time, this is such a drag…On and on, when PLINK, The words of my mom hit me like a fat raindrop on the forehead—“You should do ten things everyday that you don’t like to do, it will make you a stronger person.” I dip my hand in the gooey water to retrieve another plate and chuckle as I recall my childhood reaction to this advice: What a stupid thing to say, who would want to waste time doing something they don’t like to do? I wiped the plate and realized that by doing the dishes, although not particularly fun at the time, I was keeping things clean, clean things bring peace, peace brings happiness and strength. Thomas Edison didn’t invent the light bulb with a single, fun day of pure genius; he spent thousands of hours trying thousands of things, until after many moments of doing things he did not want to do he had his, well, light bulb moment.
I don’t like to exercise and truly I don’t know if I ever will, but I know if I do, I will be a stronger, happier person. So tonight I’m going to start my “Strength Training” with a nice, swift, power-walk. And maybe after many days of doing many things I do not like to do, I too can have my light bulb moment by listening to what Mama says.