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Mother's Best Lesson

Updated on May 6, 2009

Rocking chair moments to live by....

My mother has taught me many things over the years, yet one particular page from her book of wisdom resonates with me the most. It is the "Rocking Chair" lesson. "Live your life by creating moments you want to remember while sitting in your rocking chair as an old woman".

So as I travel through this thing we call life, the rocking chair is ever- present in my mind.

Such was the case when I got up at 4:00 on a cold winter morning because my slightly over-served friends called and said "Let's go grab some breakfast", I told them what they could do with that idea...until I thought of the rocking chair. So I shivered out of bed, threw on my favorite sweats and walked to the all-night diner in two feet of snow. We laughed and ate, then laughed some more. "I can't believe we're doing this! We all have to be at work in 3 hours!" It may have seemed crazy at the time, but it brings a smile to my face each time I recall it.

One for the chair.

I've added several more since then, some of which I wouldn't dare reveal. (These, by the way, make for the best items in your rocking chair catalogue.) Some moments you experience deliberately, like your wedding, the birth of your children, or a vacation. Others come unexpectedly. These are the times you spontaneously throw caution to the wind, defy all logic and practical sense, and just do it. I'm not sure which moments are better, I just know that both are important. So when you feel yourself falling into a schedule-induced rut, let the rocking chair be your guide, and find something remarkable to do. If you find yourself saying "I can't believe I'm doing this!" or "I can't believe I actually tried that!", then you're probably having a "rocking chair moment". Bravo for you!

When you come to a fork in the road, examine where you see your life going from the perspective of that rocker. It's pretty amazing how the answer clearly reveals itself and guides you down the right path. Many of our older, wiser predecessors have said "at the end of your life, you never wish that you'd worked harder. You only wish you had spent more time appreciating the people you love, and the fun moments in your life. You rarely regret what you've done, but instead regret what you haven't. So look for the joy in each moment, because time does run out, and it waits for no one."

Words to live by.

So when you look at your mother or grandmother and see a quiet smile come over her face when she thinks no one's sure she's benefiting from one of her rocking chair moments. This should be the time when you take inventory of the ones you've collected so far. From this day forward, be conscious of the person you'll want to remember yourself as, and how you're going to fill your catalogue.

Teach your children to live their lives with no regrets. Tell them to try everything and to not be afraid of the world, but to embrace it, experience it, and start collecting those rocking chair moments early on. Seeing their future through this window will guide them successfully on their journey. They will have a life decorated with passion, enthusiasm, laughter, and joy. And as they mature into their rocking chairs, they will take with them the memories that will make them smile.

A quiet, gratifying smile, just like Mom's.


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