motherly wisdom: deal with the faults of others as gently as with your own

When my husband and I were first married, I moved four provinces to the east until he finished his medical residency. A gentle woman by the name of Margaret cushioned me with maternal wisdom. Over the years, we continued our friendship through letters. So many letters, that I had boxes and boxes of her beautiful handwritten script. The Christmas of that first year, she gave me a book called, “Mother tried to tell me, and I just wouldn’t listen”.

Still, after all these years, I’m still grappling with one of the wisest thoughts. This quip stands tall in my mind now, as I parent my children: “Deal with the faults of others as gently as with your own“.

This is an excellent way to approach parenting. They say, ‘your voice becomes their inner voice’.

March2014 213Yet, all this is a tall order. One that makes me feel fraught with guilt, on the one hand, and consumed with responsibility on the other.

There are repeated follies a parent must respond to, so there are endless opportunities to practice this maxim. The only way I’ve really come to an awareness that this approach is effective is when others have been kind and gentle when I least deserved it. Like when my child is gentle after I’ve not been. When my husband gives me time to myself, when I hardly spent the last few days being generous to him. It’s these moments that grace, gentleness, speaks the loudest to me, convincing me that the maxim works.

Not my instinct. Hard to do. Definitely wise. Deal with the faults of others as gently as you would deal with yours.