One of the most amazing things about life is how we all make each other who we are. I’m not sure if my grammar was correct there, but the fact that I’m even concerned about my grammar is because of my mom. She’s somewhat of a stickler and even though we give her a hard time about it sometimes, I am very grateful that I was taught to use English correctly. Even if I sometimes don’t.
Obviously genetics and parents influence who we become, but every other person we know (and some we don’t) can play a role too. Here are some examples from my own life:
- I have decent posture. Not perfect, but pretty good, and certainly better than it used to be. I attribute this to one day in 4th or 5th grade when we had a substitute gym teacher. We were sitting on the floor, stretching out, and she mentioned that a person will look more attractive if he/she sits up straight and has good posture. Bam. That was all my 10-year-old boy-crazy self needed to change my posture for life. Soon enough it became a habit and although I’m no longer trying to impress grade-school boys, I still try to stand up straight.
- I am a knitter, simply because my friend Amy once invited me to a knitting night about seven years ago. I’d never thought about knitting in my life, but I was always up for a girls night, so I showed up and learned how to make a dishcloth. I was immediately hooked, and I’ve been knitting ever since. I’m no pro, but I love it, and the friends I’ve made at various knitting nights over the years have influenced me in countless ways. All because of one little invitation. Amy, if you ever read this, thanks again!
- I had the good fortune of being referred to as “selfless” by a respected teacher once in 9th grade. I was a little surprised, but that day I decided I would live up to what she thought of me. That commitment definitely impacted my high school years and beyond.
I could go on all day, but there’s one more example I wanted to write about. When all our family came to celebrate the blessing of my baby girl, my wonderful sister-in-law Mary gave us a book called Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon (by Patty Lovell, illustrated by David Catrow). Inside the cover she wrote:
I love this book because it is the story of a little girl who is not afraid to stand up for who she is, and be brave no matter what other people think. The Molly in this book is a lot like your own mother in that way. You sure are a lucky girl to have such great parents.
First of all, Mary’s kind words made me want to live so they’d be true. And then there’s the book itself! I ADORE this book! Everyone has to read it. It’s funny and keeps kids entertained while they unknowingly learn important life lessons. And I never would have even known it exists if it hadn’t been for Mary! Thank you Mary!
Molly Lou Melon is barely taller than her dog, has great big buck teeth and a voice like a bullfrog, and she’s a little clumsy to boot. She doesn’t mind, because her grandmother has taught her to stand tall, smile big, sing out, and believe in herself. She does all of these things and the story turns out wonderfully.
We read this for the letter M last week, but I keep it out all the time and try to read it to the kids often. The subject of being yourself is so important to me and I’ve always wanted to pass it on to my kids, but I haven’t known exactly how. Thanks to a thoughtful gift (from someone who is a children’s-book lover largely because of her mom, I might add), I have one tool for teaching confidence, and my kids’ lives will be forever blessed by that. I hope one day they’ll quote Molly Lou Melon’s grandmother and influence somebody else’s life for good.
In the mean time, I’ll try not to be self-conscious about my grammar on this here blog.