4 Unforgettable Life Lessons I Learned from My Beautiful Mother
Reflecting on my mother’s life and legacy, I can now see all she accomplished through the lens of the principles and values she taught me.
Her life philosophy, legacy, and gift to all who crossed paths with her were based on these principles.
In fact, she practised social responsibility, decades before corporations began adopting it.
Here are the four life lessons I learned from my beloved mother:
#1 Diligence, Empathy and Hard work
I was raised by a mother who managed many investment ventures for multiple income streams without viewing money as a self-indulgent tool.
She lived by the mantra:
If you feel another person’s pain, do something about it.”
To her, money was simply a tool to meet needs, and it didn’t matter whose needs it was—family, relatives, friends, or strangers.
Hers was living out in full, the biblical injunction that stated that we must all work hard to have something to share with those in need.
My mother placed the welfare of others above all else. There was always something she could do to help those in need.
Giving to her was a way of life; it wasn’t just something you did when it was convenient.
# 2 Lifelong Learning
Mama lived a purposeful and self-reliant life, supported by her dedication to lifelong learning.
Though she lacked formal education, she had a strong yearning to improve herself.
However, her passion for formal education could not be fulfilled until most of my older siblings had progressed to secondary and university levels.
When the time came, she took advantage of the opportunity by enrolling in an adult education school.
I was in primary school at the time, and I recollect how we used to spend time studying together.
While her curiosity and thirst for knowledge extended beyond formal education, it was clear in every aspect of her life.
She always wanted to learn how things were done rather than rely on others.
Whenever she asked me to do something for her, she was always curious to know how I did it so that she could do it the next time.
This curiosity and desire to learn didn’t wane in her old age.
She was still keen on developing herself, pursuing it tenaciously.
I recall getting her an iPhone during one of my visits home. She was well into her eighties then.
Setting it up for her, she kept asking me to go over the steps so that she could understand the phone set-up process.
Although things have changed a tad since her time, I remember how she used to take her cash earnings from her business to the bank to deposit into her account.
Occasionally, she would ask me to accompany her to the bank to help fill out the pay-in form.
Instead of relying on me to fill it out for her, she insisted on doing it independently, but with my guidance to avoid mistakes.
She lived by the saying:
If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach him to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”
# 4 Charity and Social Responsibility
When it came to trading, mama was quite savvy.
However, her business wasn’t about making money but about delivering service, fulfilling a need, and serving her community.
Indeed, she understood the business concept of market attractiveness, opportunity sizing, service gaps, and pricing strategy.
For example, I watched her move from a larger restaurant in one location to a smaller one at another – primarily because she noticed a market gap and wanted to fill it.
In that sense, I’d say she was a strategist, guided solely by her business philosophy, further driven by a sense of social responsibility rather than the desire to make money.
She made it her mission to feed people before making a profit, and she made it an intentional point not to turn anyone away, regardless of their inability to pay.
She served them without charge and would encourage them to settle their bills whenever they could.
Still, others simply asked for food with no obligation to pay.
There were many opportunities to exploit her act, yet she did what she did out of a sense of social responsibility to her community.
It is instructive to see corporations embracing this sense of social responsibility more and more.
The philosophy behind her life, her legacy, and her gift to all that crossed her path put her decades ahead of the curve.
For her, giving was a way of life; it wasn’t just an act of convenience, and it made her even more remarkable.
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