Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!
I celebrated Mother’s Day with the best mom I could imagine, my mother: Constance Kuhn. Connie is a semi-retired farmer and a busy, vibrant watercolor artist.
She’s also very wise.
Mother’s Day Wisdom
As we ate Mother’s Day brunch together at Louisville’s new Omni Hotel, she dropped some of that wisdom on me.
I asked Mom, “Have you ever reached an age where you say, ‘I can finally stop being concerned; my son will definitely be okay.’?”
I am 51 years old, after all, and a pretty successful man in many respects. And, as a parent of four sons ranging in age from 14 through 22, I would love to relax and know they have their lives sufficiently together.
My mom answered, “Not really. No matter what else is going on, you always want your children to be happy.”
To which we both agreed, “How ironic that the one thing you never stop wanting for your children is something they will never have unless they, themselves, want it.”
Be Selfish Because It’s Actually the Best Way to Be Selfless
In other words, my Mom encouraged me to take care of my own happiness first. In the same manner that you’re instructed to put your oxygen mask on first (in the event of an airplane emergency) when traveling with a child.
“Put my airbag on before my child? Perish the thought! Who would be so selfish?,” a very caring parent might understandably exclaim.
Yet it’s not selfish at all to put your airbag on first. If you pass out because your air bag wasn’t on, after all, what good will you be to your child?
Likewise, if you are not happy (or self-actualized, centered, whole, etc.), what good are you to your child? How much of a resource can you be for your child’s happiness if you, yourself, are not happy?
Put Your Airbag on First Today – Literally and Figuratively
Selfishness gets a bad rap; being selfish is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and the people you care about.
It’s self-centeredness you want to watch out for, not selfishness! Self-centeredness means you believe your needs trump anyone else’s while selfishness means you’re meeting your needs first (so you can better meet anyone else’s). Selfishness actually helps you be more selfless.
Put your airbag on first today. Take care of yourself, first and foremost, so you can be the best resource possible for your children (or partner, pet, neighbor, etc.)