How fun and exciting to think about having my mom as the second mentor on Mentor Monday. Nobody’s mom is perfect, but mine is pretty darn awesome. She inspired many of the activities in my book, she is hilarious and creative, and she’s always there for us. I knew I wanted to feature her on Mentor Monday, but I couldn’t decide which of her many life lessons to include. As I thought about it, though, I kept coming back to one of her most constant refrains: “Remember, I love you for who you are, not for what you do.” What a lovely thing to have ringing in your ear as a child.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that one of my favorite Bible verses mirrors this language almost exactly. Titus chapter 3, verses 4 and 5 “When the kindness and love of God our Savior came, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”
Growing up I was a fairly success oriented kid. I liked school so much that I cried when I couldn’t go, I wanted to be in the science club and the environmental club and the band and the writing competition. I liked to achieve things. My parents were very supportive of all these endeavors. They proudly displayed awards and sat through band concerts, they took pictures and hung them on the fridge. They were encouraging, but they were very clear that the things I achieved didn’t earn me their love. In fact, my mom regularly said “Remember, Traci, I love you because of who you are, not what you do.” She wrote it down and put it in envelopes and cards, and she whispered it in my ear all throughout my childhood and young adulthood. I don’t know if it meant a lot to me as a child, but I remember it now, all the time.
Of course we want success for our children, but more than this, we want them to be at peace with themselves, confident that they are loved by God and loved by the adults in their lives. Take a page out of my mom’s playbook: tell your children you love them for no other reason than that they are yours.
About my mom: My mom, Lynn Smith, is amazing. She’s funny and silly and she takes lots of pictures. She’s a master at connecting with her grandkids through Skype, hates to sew with a sewing machine, and loves her children unconditionally. Thanks mom!