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Elderly lady typing on laptop. Shallow DOF.Who in your life has helped to shape and mold who you have become? Who do you listen to? Who do you aspire to be like?

We are influenced by many people and experiences we have had and seldom think about how this has reflected on who we are today.

I recently wrote and submitted a story for an anthology book about what we learned or did not learn from our mothers. It made me stop and think about my mom in a new way. I had never given a lot of personal thought about how my Mom had influenced me. I knew I was proud of her, but hadn’t really thought about why.

Growing up on a large farm in the Midwest, I accepted my parent’s principles of hard work, saving, investing, and frugal spending as the way everybody lived their life. The integrity and ethics of my parents had a profound influence on how I lived when I grew up. I didn’t fully appreciate the gift they gave us kids until much later in life.

Both parents were bright, but uneducated in the sense we think of education today. Dad was successful as a farmer because of his intelligence, common sense and work ethics. While Dad worked in the field, Mom took care of us kids, milked cows, raised chickens, helped with the butchering and planted and harvested a huge garden each year. She sewed, made quilts, and had a flower garden that was the envy of everyone.

In preparation to write my story, I reflected back specifically on what I had learned from my Mother. She had a deep faith in God and trusted in Him to help her through the many challenging events in her life. She lived her faith every day. When things needed to be done, she simply got busy and did them. But there was one event in particular that stands out for me.

My parents came to this country as young children. German was spoken in the home for many years. Mom had learned to read and write in German, and could read English but continued to write in her native German.

Family was everything to my Mom. When we moved to Oregon, my sisters helped write letters to family who still lived in the Midwest. After they married and left home, she decided she would teach herself how to write.

With an English primer and her catechism she set about learning how to write in English. No fanfare or exclamations of what she had to do or was doing. She did this after working hard all day. It was usually 9 in the evening before chores were done. I remember coming downstairs to say goodnight and witnessing my Mom laboriously writing, copying sentences from German to English.  I was overwhelmed with pride for her; a pride I still have today.

I am thankful I had such good models in my life from both my Dad and Mom. I learned the practical but sure wisdom of having a faith in God, a willingness to work hard to get things done. Her “I can do” mindset has followed me and enabled me to accomplish many things I never dreamed of doing.

Think about the people in your life who you admired. How did they live? What principles and values can you claim and apply to your life. Read books of people who started out with nothing, persevered and accomplished great things. And ask God for the courage to model and apply these same values to your own life.

Marlene Anderson


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