Life Lessons from Mom


We’ve all had life-changing moments. Those events or circumstances that we never saw coming, but, upon reflection, altered how we think, the way we feel, or how we live. And those moments don’t have to have a big run-up to them nor do they need to be dramatic, as if scripted for the big screen. For example, I had planned on proposing to my wife on the Santa Monica Pier while we were on a Left Coast vacation. But, as tends to happen, life intervened – and by intervened, I mean she figured it out so I was forced to change my plan in an effort to surprise her. Bit I digress.

One of those life moments that remains fresh in my memory bank, despite it occurring over two decades ago, was a lesson my mom taught me. The hard way.

I had gone to the mall that day with my mom. As we approached one of the anchor stores, I was a few feet in front of her. Apparently, my too-cool-for-school ass couldn’t be seen in public with *gasp* my mom!!!! As I arrived at the entrance door, I opened it and walked through. Didn’t think twice.

Once we were inside the store, my mom stopped me dead in my tracks. She proceeded to go up and down both sides of me for not holding the door for her.

“How dare you not hold the door for your mother!”

“I didn’t raise you to be that way!”

“No son of mine will be caught dead not holding a door for a woman!”

And on it went.  I could feel the eyes of passing customers catching a quick glance of my down-dressing. My mom didn’t just serve me a piece of humble pie. She held my mouth open and stuffed it down my throat. Make no mistake, though. I deserved every last finger-wagging word she launched at me.

But as I suffered the embarrassment of a public lecture, it occurred to me.

Mom. Was. Right.

I don’t remember much about that day. Why we were there and what time of year it was (summer, I think). But, I do remember the lesson.

Now happily married with two very young sons, I know there are some things my boys need to learn that can only come from their dad.  One of those lessons absolutely will be how to treat a lady. And it starts with the way they see me treat their mom, my wife.

I think of that day with my mom quite often, despite the years that have passed. And although it caused me quite a bit of embarrassment at the time, I’m glad it happened. My dopey ass needed to hear it. I know my wife well enough to know that, if one of our boys ever pulls that stunt, she won’t hesitate to act. Just like my mom did.

Sons always need their moms, even though sometimes we can be too blind to see it. Moms kiss our boo-boos when we skin our knees as kids, shed tears when we leave for college, and beam with joy when, as grandmothers, they watch our children. In between all those water-shed moments, moms usually find time to teach us a few life lessons along the way. And that, my friends, is true beauty.

Oh, and mom, if you’re reading this, I hold the door for women wherever I go. And when they’re old enough, my boys will too. Thanks for the lesson.

This post is part of The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest VII! To read more entries, and potentially win a fun prize, visit the fest page on August McLaughlin’s site between today and 11pm PST March 9th.


  1. My husband just asked me the other day if it was “still all right” to open the car door for me. “Sure” I said, “I don’t NEED it, but I definitely appreciate it.” It never bothers me if I have to open my own door, but it never bothers me to have it held for me, either. And, of course I will hold a door for a man, if he’s got his hands full! Courtesy is a nice habit, and we could use more of it in life.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. “I know there are some things my boys need to learn that can only come from their dad. One of those lessons absolutely will be how to treat a lady. And it starts with the way they see me treat their mom, my wife.”

    Yes!!! We can all do more to eliminate toxic masculinity and teach our young men that sensitivity isn’t a bad thing. Everyone needs to be able to express a variety of emotions, and we should all show kindness and courtesy to others regardless of their gender.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Some Moms are quite right the way they raise us. My own mother, might she be as she is, she thought us great manners! And so did my Dad. in business I often met men in their end 50s early 60s who acted like true gentlemen. (The ‘ancient’ form of genlemannerism, not the recent one.)
    Nowadays I get the feeling a gentleman is a man who takes his had of before he hits a woman – and takes the dishes out of the sink before he pees in there… Might be a bit harsh. But I admit, at times, even the ‘youngsters’ surprise me. I don’t doubt for a second that’s because they got great parents.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You know, for a little while, I wanted nothing to do with the feminism label, and it had absolutely nothing to do with female empowerment. There are certain rabid sects of the movement that I simply can’t relate to.

    In my late teens, a bunch of friends and I were headed out to some event. One of the guys, a total gentleman, held the door open for us. I thanked him, but really thought nothing of it as I expected him to be that way. The last of us girls about to go through the door had different thoughts. She pushed his arm away and said, “I’m not some helpless girl. I can open the door myself.” And it sat rotting in my mouth that she was an ingrate and hateful and used feminism as her excuse claiming her mother had taught her not to let a man think you’re weak. Yeah. I knew the guy. He didn’t think showing a kindness made us weak, but she did. And I thought, if this rudeness, fear, and irrational thinking is what makes a feminist, then no thanks.”

    I love that your mom taught you courtesy. The world needs more of that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I completely agree, Kitt. There are rabid sects in every corner of every movement. The example you sited shows how your friend’s mom did her a total disservice since, for whatever short-sighted reason, she loathes men enough to not be able to accept a simple act of kindness that has nothing to do with anything other than being a decent person. A friend of mine once told me how he opted to let a woman board a bus before him simply out of chivalry. She responded with a foul-mouthed comment that accused him of simply wanting to look at her backside (btw, he’s gay). Deservedly so, he gave her a ration right back.

      My post/participation in #BOAW2018 had nothing to do with any movement or bigger picture issue. I only wanted to share a simple life lesson taught to me by my mom that I still employ each day. We all go out in public and, unless your X-Men power is walking through walls, the opportunity to practice a random act of kindness for a woman (or a man) exists multiple times each day. Plus, I was flattered that August invited me to participate 🙂

      But I agree with you about courtesy. No matter what one’s views are and from what side of the aisle or corner of the world they’re viewed from, we all could stand to be a bit nicer to one another. It really takes no effort.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Isn’t it cool how one thought can trigger so many different thoughts and responses from others in ways we hadn’t initially considered would relate?

        Human thoughts and emotions are amazing. Again, bravo!


  5. I really enjoyed this post, Steve. I could not agree more about courtesy and that it cannot be overdone. By that, I mean opening doors for one another because it really is the right thing to do. No doubt your mom is very proud of her son, and what lucky boys to have you as a father.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great post! Courtesy is so important and it seems to be a lost art, so I’m glad to see you teaching your sons that. I don’t mind when someone holds the door for me, and I’m happy to hold a door for someone who might be right behind me (there’s nothing worse than having a door shut just as you reach it when there would have been little to no effort to hold it for another second or three). It’s a general kindness that benefits everyone. Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As the mom of two boys, I take my role in shaping their ideas about how to exist in the world very seriously–but I also know that the example of how I live my life every day will make a far bigger impression on them than anything I consciously decide to teach them. I’m glad you can see your mom’s reaction for what it was–a loving gesture–and that it made such a lasting impression.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I might just be the exception to your mom’s rule. While I’ll never complain if someone opens a door for me, I LOVE opening doors for others. Like, to the point where, when I smile and answer a stranger’s thanks with, “I was a doorman in a past life,” I’m only halfway joking.

    I don’t want doors held for me because I’m a woman. It feels a bit sexist to me. I don’t mind if it’s held because someone got there first, and I truly appreciated it when I had small kids and all the gear that goes with them.

    I have a son. He’s 16. He holds doors for people (male and female), and has since it was an effort for him to get that door open. But he doesn’t do it because I told him he had to; he does it because he’s a thoughtful person, and, at 6’3″ and burly, larger and more capable now than most folks of either sex.

    And he’s seen his mother and father holding doors all his life, and seen, too, the pleasure taken in the act.

    Not to say your mom was wrong – only that there could be other ways to look at it. =)


  9. Your sons are lucky to have a caring and wonderful role model to learn from 🙂 I was always mortified whenever my parents would scold me in public but some of those most embarrassing moments were hardest lessons that have stuck with me the longest. Steve, thank you so much for sharing! Happy Festing!

    Liked by 1 person

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