Mothers are Our First Teachers

“Our mothers are our first teachers, and we teach others the same lessons we learn from them. As a child, when your mother believes in you, you believe in yourself, and when that happens, there is nothing you can’t do. As a mother, that is the greatest gift we can give to a child.”  Caroline Kennedy

From the minute a child is born, especially a first child, a mother is faced with so many decisions to make, decisions she never had to make before. Breastfeed or bottle? Diaper service or disposables? Traditional pediatrician or alternative care? Homemade food or ready-made when starting solids? Sleep train or co-sleep?

As the child develops, parenting becomes more complicated. How strict should a mother be? How much discipline is considered being overly controlling versus simply teaching good habits and manners? Public school or private? One language or multiple languages spoken at home?

Then there are the teen years, which are full of land mines for mothers to step on. There is the big issue of privacy. Is it okay to monitor your teenager’s phone calls, online activities and choice of friends? Is there a serious boyfriend/girlfriend? Do they know about and practice safe sex? How much can you ask without seeming to pry—and is your teenager even speaking to you? Is your teenager simply moody or suffering from depression, OCD, ADHD and many more possible irregularities? Are your high schoolers type A and pushing themselves too hard as they try to get into the “best” universities?  Every mother is different, yet every mother of a teen wonders even more than before, “what am I supposed to do to be a good mom?”

Once that child is “grown up” and leaves the house, mom does not stop worrying. The difference is now she sees them less often and no longer has a front row seat to view their successes and foibles. By this point, blessed moms may have become friends of their offspring. Friends get together and the teaching aspect of the relationship may even out in that the child may be imparting advice and knowledge to the mom as much as the other way around. Mom may be taken care of in many ways—role reversal begins when you’re blessed to be a friend mom.

When your daughter becomes a mother herself (or when your son becomes a father), that huge milestone changes the parenting dynamic yet again. Your “child” may actually show gratitude on a regular basis—there’s nothing like first-hand experience to teach or learn the lesson of parenthood: you no longer come first when you’re a parent. As we navigate into the different phases of our lives, mothers especially have to walk through fire before realizing we cannot take care of everyone else unless we take care of ourselves. This counterintuitive lesson is something virtually every mother struggles with.

We have many moms at Nikken, both who are Consultants and staff members. Being part of Nikken influences how mothers develop their parenting styles over the years and as the children gradually mature. Regardless of the wide range of parenting choices, Nikken Consultants and staff members cannot help but be guided by the 5 Pillars of Wellness, and this becomes integral to how we guide our children—to live fully with healthy body, mind, family, society and finances—in harmony with nature. These children will in turn impart this conscious and gentle lifestyle to the next generations.

May 14 is Mother’s Day this year— let’s show the true heroines — the mothers in our lives— how much we appreciate their teachings, patience, love and sacrifice! Let’s mindfully and intentionally do something to help take care of the beloved mothers in our lives every day of the year as they continue on their heroic journeys as mothers.