by Carol Brown  


My mom was a school teacher and an elementary school principal in her professional life, but the things that she has taught me are far more valuable and long-lasting than any lessons found in a classroom. Through the years, my mom has taught me to play nicely with others, smile often and big, have confidence in my abilities, and never be afraid of God's plan for my life.


At an early age my mom taught me the value of playing nicely with others. Even though I was quite content to stay at home and play with my sisters, my mom set up play dates for me with friends from school and church. If she had not given me that extra push, I might have missed out on friendships with Cindy, Frances, and my favorite friend, Peaches.


When I was a self-conscious teenager, my mom's wise words, "Keep smiling and they'll never notice your big feet," carried me through that awkward stage. She helped me to understand that being a kind and caring friend was more important than looking like a beauty queen. I still say that a genuine smile can hide a multitude of flaws.


When I became a mom myself, my mom showed her confidence in me by helping with the laundry and cooking but leaving the baby care to me from the first day. She knew that as new parents, Steve and I needed to find our own way and trust our own instincts. Her confidence gave me confidence in my abilities to care for our newborn son without fear.


Most recently, my mom taught me not to fear death as she bravely faced a cancer diagnosis. She trusted so completely in God's plan for her life that even cancer - even the possibility of leaving us behind - didn't sway her confidence in God's love for each one of us.


My mom has taught me many good things, but the lesson that has been lovingly expressed through every word, every hug, and every touch is that God is love. And if I trust that God is love, I will never need to fear God's plan for my life. I'm glad that my mom is not finished teaching me yet, because there are some lessons that take a lifetime to learn.