The Wisdom of my Mom and Dad

me-in-wales1.jpgSo many times when we are growing up, we don’t want to listen to our parents. As an adult, I have realized the folly of my ways, and even when I don’t like what they say, I also have learned that they are almost always right. And I learned it again this past year.


My Mom and Dad are two of the smartest people I know. Not book smarts, they have street smarts. Or let’s just call it plain ‘ole common sense. Ahh, common sense. Such a rare and refreshing commodity these days, in my experience. This morning I read a blog that I highly recommend, which reminded me of the wisdom of my parents. You can check out Random Thoughts’ most recent blog post HERE.

Well, if truth be told, also check out these posts Life is a Full Time Job, Never Ever Give Up, Speak Your Truths and The Highroad Less Traveled – there are many golden nuggets in these posts that could have just as well come from my Mom and Dad. Yep, they are smart cookies.

My Dad is also one of the best judges of character, and he is always right. He wasn’t an award-winning 100% commission sales manager for W. Clement Stone for nothing. Positive mental attitude, baby. PMA. I wrote a Father’s Day tribute about my dad some years ago that I will share in a later blog, which talks more about this. My Dad instilled in me the importance of always keeping your word, always working hard, never giving up, and most importantly, being a person of strong character. Character is everything. Without it, you really don’t have much, and I tend to agree with him.

Character. And as I like to say – Learn It. Live it. Love it.

Another thing my Dad always told me is that “you are beautiful and brilliant, and that will make you intimidating” – both in general and to any man. And you know what? He was right. Still is right. I have written a bit this week in posts on my Facebook page about the use of terminology related to women. I find this is true in all parts of life, not just in business. For more, check out this great article on the use of language in national politics related to women – Reclaiming the Words That Smear.

When I took over as head of a department at the young age of 28 for a large association where I was ultimately managing roughly one million in budgets, just before completing my MBA in 1996 after five years of working on it, I got a golden nugget from my boss. You know the use of foreshadowing in movies? Yeah, it was like that.

We were in a male dominated industry. Well, most of my gigs have been in male dominated industries. He told me that “you will have to do a better job than me to be perceived as doing as good a job as me. And I’m sure you will as you are smarter than me and do a better job than me.” Honestly? I think that ate at him for years, once he saw my success in running the department after he moved up to head the organization.

O.k., sure, that was 1996, but have things changed in the intervening 18 years? Um, no. Hell no. It is still out there. It just dresses and talks differently, cleans up a bit nicer.

When you are a woman, if you are successful and driven, you are intimidating to men, and you are also intimidating to women who are not confident and standing in their own power. It does not matter how nice you are, how good of a person you are, it does not matter what good you do in the world, you get painted with the “words that smear.”

A woman is bitchy and aggressive. A man is confident and assertive. See the difference?

Well, I am driven, motivated, hard-working, passionate and focused. I am successful and do a damn good job, pretty much in all things I do – because I put my all behind all of my work. I make no apologies for that. I am not sorry. I am Shea. I am a woman in my power.

Scratch that. I am a human being in my power.

My parents loathed my Junior Year in high school as I felt my freedom, began to find my own identity. What parent doesn’t? Yet I was a straight A student, on my way to becoming Honored Queen of my bethel in the International Order of Jobs Daughters despite all odds. I had many friends. I didn’t go in for the cliques and talked to everyone. I valued everyone. I welcomed all the new members.

Not counting the time in fourth grade when two school girl bullies painted my little satin jacket in art class, my only store bought clothes that we could afford and that I treasured…and that we could not afford to replace. … Ninth Grade was the first time where I found women who were jealous of my accomplishments. Girls who bashed me for having what they wanted as I was the youngest ever to be elected by my peers “into line” to eventually become Honored Queen. Oh, the drama that ensued from them!

It was a wake-up call for me – in 9th grade. I was just a little girl really. It was an eye opener on life. But I had done the work…and they had not. I ignored them, persevered and continued to do the work. Did that help them? Nope. As for me, I instituted the first charitable efforts ever for our bethel and raised the most money ever for our bethel in my Senior Year during my term as Honored Queen. My parents and I and our members worked our butts off! I went on to have a record-breaking term as Honored Queen and we accomplished some pretty awesome things together. The Ronald McDonald House was my charity – my parents also taught me to *always* give back.

I saw it again when I ran for Student Council in 10th grade and a girl who was a “friend” was jealous and painted over and ripped down my signs. Oh vey, really? Geesh. But through all of this, I was happy…because I was me. I knew who I was. I walked my talk. Walk your talk, stick to your path, go for it and you can make it happen. Be happy with yourself, who you are and stand in your power. Be happy. It’s your choice.

But back to my Junior Year…which is where I found the movie Risky Business. My parents did not realize the connections, and they were not too fond of their daughter being so enthusiastic about such a movie at the time, lol. Yet that movie and its message have shaped my life in fabulous ways. I will never forget this scene – definitely check it out!

Make your move, take your chance. “What the {bleep} gives you freedom, freedom brings opportunity, opportunity makes your future…if you can’t say it, you can’t do it.” Well, on this part my parents wholeheartedly agree!

Another thing I learned from my Mom and Dad growing up is that you can do anything you want to do if you set your mind to it. At the same time, they told me and taught me that you have to work for it. You have to *earn* it. Some shy away from the word work, or they give lip service to it. It’s all flash and no substance. I’ve seen it in all walks of life. They want things handed to them when it hasn’t been earned, they expect things, demand things, and when they don’t get them their reaction is worthy of a two year old’s tantrum. It just doesn’t work that way. Life does not work that way. Gigs do not work that way.

Or in other words, nothing is worth having if you don’t do the work to get there.

Yep, another gem from Mom and Dad.

Sometimes even when you work at something, you don’t get what you thought you wanted, and that’s o.k. – the old adage, “we don’t get everything we want in life.” My parents taught me that too. And guess what? That is o.k.! Just like my parents taught me. They were right. When life happens, you get back up, you dust yourself off – you go for it.

Old wisdom sayings are wisdom sayings because there is a truth to them. Gods, how boring life would be if it was so predictable! We’d never learn a thing. Just like the Risky Business quote, it frees up space for new opportunities and amazing things to happen. So let it go, move on and get over it, because a more fabulous opportunity, a new step on your journey is waiting for you, so take the bull by the horns and get on with it, let’s go! You can do it!

I watched my parents and learned from example. One thing I learned was even when you’re tired and sick, you get up and “do” – do whatever it is, but work anyway, do it anyway. My parents hardly ever missed a day of work. No matter how you feel. Do it. Live. Be happy. Life can be hard, things happen. Don’t curl up in a ball and stay there, transform it, take charge and get up, just get up and do *something* … anything. Before you know it, things will change for the better. But you have to want it, and you have to work for it!

When I had my three surgeries last year, culminating in my partial hysterectomy the day after Pagan Picnic last June, and my young beloved kitty Lexi suddenly died earlier that spring, I still did a lot of work. Granted, my work was in different ways than I expected as I had physical limitations. But I went out and *did* something, built things, worked. I did not let it stop me (see my blog post Count Your Blessings – A Year of Fabulous Firsts). I had grief that I embraced and worked through, and my moments of complaint. Sure, I’m human, and there were hard times, and that’s o.k. – it’s what good friends and family and the gods are for…but I did it anyway. I worked anyway. I transformed it and made the most of it. And you can too! Just take that one step, take that baby step…and then take another.

Maybe it’s the old Scrubby Dutch work ethic ingrained in me by my family, I don’t know. But it has power. Put your effort where your talk is, walk your talk, stand in your power and make it happen. Don’t stand on the sidelines watching the others on the field, expecting to be on the field and having commentary about it…get out there and work and make it happen, make your life happen. Create your life. Get yourself in the game.

And I just have to toss in my personal motto – “work hard, play hard.” There is no substitute.

My parents also taught me Always Do Your Best. Sound familiar? Yes, it is also one of the Four Agreements of don Miguel Ruiz’ Toltec writings. Mom and Dad also taught me to always take the high road. They taught me not to apologize for who you are. Stand up for what you believe in and what you think is right. It reminds me of this awesome song that I heard about two weeks ago on the radio and that reminded me of my Dad – You’ve Got to Stand for Something by Aaron Tippon.

That’s how I endeavor to live my life. Yep…the wisdom of my Mom and Dad. I listen to them. After all, they’re probably the two smartest people I know.

Blessed be,

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One Response to The Wisdom of my Mom and Dad

  1. Pingback: It’s all about Character and a Boy’s Little Red Wagon | Thoughts on the Edge – Spirit's Edge: The Witch's Croft by Shea Morgan

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