Audience Participation Friday: What Your Mother Taught You

We're two days away from Mother's Day. The great majority of the readers of this blog have or have had mothers. I want to hear about them. Specifically, what are some things that you learned from your mother?

I'll start, acknowledging first that I learned so many things from my mother that there's something quite arbitrary about choosing any one thing. But here's the one thing I'm arbitrarily choosing: My mother taught me to pay attention to the world around me. She wants to know everybody's story, and not in a gossipy way, but because she finds people endlessly fascinating. She is genuinely interested in details that I would never think to be interested in--who exactly said what to whom in an exchange that happened years ago between people I remember only vaguely. One legendary dinner-table conversation involved a James and a Jeems and trying to remember which one was the father and which one was the son (or was it uncle and nephew?) and which one lived in the brick house and which one lived in the house with siding and how exactly they were connected to our old neighbors--to the extent that we forgot exactly why we were talking about Jeems and James in the first place.

Because my mother is interested in these stories, I come to realize that the stories--and the people in them--are indeed interesting. In a world full of people who long to be interesting, the person who is interested is a treasure indeed. That's one of my mother's gifts--being interested--and it's a gift that she gives to the world around her.

So, what have you learned from your mother?