It seems that an important characteristic of people I appreciate, respect, and admire is that they care. When we think of the verb to care, we often think of “to care for,” like a mother bear caring for her cubs. But what I am referring to is a more general care, the care that gives importance to another. This care is the kind that is more than the average person gives. It is the care that produces our respect and admiration for the person who indeed cares.
I was thinking this week that the principle source of caring that produces the Good Love of a mother and a father, or of anyone for that matter, is selflessness. The individual grasps the potential to make a positive difference by concentrating on others rather than self. One way of saying it is the title of my article a couple weeks ago – A Little Less Me and a Little More You and We.
One of the greatest and least appreciated secrets of this life has got to be the fact that when we are successful at caring for others, sometimes even for strangers, there is a significant benefit for us as well. Often the caring and love we are willing to share is returned to us. It lifts us up and gives us happiness. The fact that we share the care and the love, not in order to be lifted up or made happy but merely because we care, makes the return back to us even greater.
I ran out of space last week, but wanted to share some more about my mother. I had wondered what she thought were her greatest accomplishments and regrets in life. Surely she would think her greatest achievement was earning her PhD. After all, she did that while taking care of a home and family and holding down multiple jobs. But no, she said that her children were her greatest accomplishment in life. She said that she had wanted me and my sister Judy more than she had ever wanted anything. I am sure that that accounts for the caring my sister and I received. It was also probably heightened even more by the fact that my sister Jennifer died at birth when I was three and my brother Howard died at four years when I was five.
As for regrets, my mom shared that her greatest regret was telling an honest, understanding, and smart man that she thought there was too large a difference in their ages. And of course the fact that Jennifer and Howard died was very much regretted although it was something over which she had no control.
I’ve shared that we demonstrate to others what and who is important to us in several ways: by what and who we spend our time and money on, and by who we honestly share our feelings and emotions with. As Mother’s Day comes and goes, and I consider what makes my mother a Good Mother, I again examine myself. Where do I need to care more, share more with those I have a relationship with like my wife, my kids, my parents, and my sister? Where do I fall short of my mother’s example? I keep seeing opportunities for improvement, as my blinders are removed and blind spots are revealed – just as the prodigal son came to his senses.
What about you – can you think of an example from a great mother or father of an opportunity to improve and make a positive difference for someone you love? Just look for one opportunity, one that resonates with you, and take action and make application of your love, caring, and sharing.