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FIRST-PERSON: I’m still learning from my Mom


If I am a helicopter parent (and I am), I didn’t get it from my own mom.

Chalk it up to raising kids in a simpler time, but my mom doesn’t suffer from my tendency to hover. Instead, she chose her moments carefully. In fact, she’s the one who taught me that principle after a contentious church business meeting. Referring to someone who had spoken up that night in a rare moment of boldness, my mom said people are more likely to listen to those who don’t talk all the time. Because she didn’t, I have lessons from her I’ll never forget.

One Sunday after church, she asked why one of the friends I sat with seemed to have been left out of the group that night. I wheedled out an answer about how it hadn’t really been me doing the excluding. Some sins are acts of commission, my mom said, and some are acts of omission. I knew immediately which one I was guilty of and spent the rest of ride home silently squirming, until she gently helped me think about how I could apologize the next time I saw my friend.

A few years later, we had moved to a new state and I was desperately trying to make friends to see me through my last years of high school. My younger sister and I went on a youth group trip, and sometime that week I called my mom to give her an update. She asked if I was looking out for my sister and, after I hemmed and hawed, she reminded me that friends would come and go, but my sister and I would always have each other. Chastened, I knew what to do when we got off the phone.

As a young adult, I watched my peers move from one life stage to the next when, at times, my own felt like it was at a stand-still. On this point, my mom’s counsel was more direct: “It’s not a race!” she would say. My sister and I still yell that to one another, and my mom smiles and rolls her eyes if she’s in the room. “Well, it’s not,” she mutters.

Now that I’m a mom, I know Mom must have had great self-control because the temptation to over-think and over-talk is so strong. Her faith allowed her to parent with a loose grip—consistent and present, knowing much was out of her control but nothing is out of God’s control. I’m so thankful for her example.

    About the Author

  • Meredith Flynn/Illinois Baptist