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How My ‘Mean Mother’ Helped Me Become a Better Person
do we have to blame for the terrible way we turned out? You’re right, our mean mother.
the next morning. We couldn’t sleep in until noon like our friends did. So while they slept, my mother actually had the nerve to break the child labor law. She made us work. We had to wash dishes, take out the garbage, make beds, put our clean clothes and toys away, dust the furniture, learn to cook, set the table, vacuum the rugs, clean the bathrooms, do yard work, and tend to the garden, among many other cruel things. I believe she laid awake at night thinking up mean things to do to us. She always insisted upon us telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, even if it killed us – and it nearly did. By the time my brother and I were teenagers, Mother was much wiser, and our life became even more miserable. While my friends were dating at the mature age of 12 or 13, my old-fashioned mother refused to let us date until we were 16, and then only group dates, and only for church functions twice a year. My mother was a complete failure as a mother. Bill and I both graduated from high school, served in the church, and found careers. She forced us to grow up into God- fearing, educated, honest adults. And whom
When I was 20, I had the opportunity to give a speech in church. The speech I gave was entitled “My Mean Mother,” and my notes listed all the ways that my mother was the meanest. While other kids ate candy for breakfast, I had to eat cereal, eggs, and toast. When others had coke and candy for lunch, I had to eat a sandwich. As you can guess, my supper was different from other kids as well:
This was the gist of my speech. As you can probably tell, it was written in jest. As a kid, I did believe some of my mother’s strictness was out of sheer meanness. As I grew up, I realized how fortunate I was to have someone who cared so deeply about me that she wanted to make sure I was healthy, disciplined, and out of harm’s way. In reality, “My Mean Mother” was a tribute to what an incredible mother I have. My mother made sure we had enough to eat and kept us out of trouble, which was no small feat, as we were mischievous boys. Using this as a background, Jeanelle and I are trying to raise our family of five children and seven grandchildren the same way my mean mother raised me. I stand a little taller and I am filled with pride when my children call me mean.
liver, and onions!
But at least I wasn’t alone in my sufferings. My brother Bill had the same mean mother as I did. My mother insisted upon knowing where we were at all times. She had to know who our friends were and what we were doing.
Because, you see, I thank God for giving me the meanest mother in the world.
1 Livingston Dental -Dr. James Livingston
The worst is yet to come. We had to be in bed by 9 o’clock each night and up early
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