What's the greatest lesson your mother taught you?
Sometimes You’ve Gotta Do What You’ve Gotta Do to Stand Up for Yourself and What’s Right My mom was feisty and energetic. She taught me many lessons over the years. Looking back, the one I remember most vividly is this: I was little – maybe 6 or 7 years old. There was a kid in our apartment complex who was a bully. He would tease and taunt and push me around. I remember him doing things like: grabbing my pogo stick (or hula hoop) and running away with it. Throwing rocks into our marbles (or jacks) games. Pushing and tripping me during tag. Running off with the ball during dodge ball games. One day (for some reason I don’t remember) my mom decided to intervene. “That kid needs to be taught a lesson,” she told me. “Here’s what I want you to do: “Bring him to the side where I can see him and you through the kitchen window. Tell him you’re tired of him pushing you around. Then beat him up. I’ll be watching. “Don’t hurt him too badly,” she said. “Just enough to make the point.” “You really want me to do that, Mom – really?” “Yep. The time has come. He needs to be taught a lesson.” I remember being outside that window with that kid. I don’t remember how we got there. Or what happened during “the fight.” But I do remember he never bothered me again. The key take-away for me then (and now) is sometimes you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do to stand up for yourself and what’s right. Looking back, this outside-the-kitchen-window experience was my mom’s way of teaching me my earliest life lessons in self-respect, karma, and the rules of fair play. This is far from the only life lesson my mom ever taught me. But it is among the most memorable. And enduring. Thank you, Mom. I miss you!