Wednesday, 14 June 2017

#WordWednesday: motherism

A motherism is something one's mother said often or which is worth remembering (or hard to forget, even if you'd like to). One of my mother's motherisms was, "Be nice." Everything was nice or was supposed to be or whatever. I grew to really dislike that word because it seemed so shallow and artificial. Of course, it isn't completely those things, but I rarely use the word myself.

On the other hand, like many mothers (how about yours?), my mother had smart and useful things to say, too. Here's a little story about one of them. 

Mom was an artist, and she painted her last painting at the age of 93, just a few months before she died. She’d been painting since long before I came on the scene 65 years ago, so that’s a lot of painting. Not so many years ago, she told me that one of the hardest things about painting is knowing when to stop. All it takes, she said, is one or two strokes too many, and you’ve either ruined the painting completely, or you have to fix it, which obviously takes a lot more time and effort than stopping would have.

Lately I’ve been applying that motherism to various aspects of my life. For example, I’m learning in my middle years that sometimes the best contribution I can make to a situation or to a piece of writing is to stop.

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