It was a tight embrace- the kind that expresses the content of the heart without the need to utter a word. I could feel my Mother’s mixed emotions. She exchanged few words with me in this moment; mum didn’t need to say much- I knew her sentiment. She was happy, excited, anxious, feeling a sense of loss and gain. The final break from the umbilical cord was about to take place. This night, I was going to propose to my now wife. I left the house knowing she sent me with her blessing to make one of the biggest decisions in my life.
Love is a verb, and mum knew it. She conveyed her love in the things that she did. She was the first entrepreneur to inspire me; the first master chef to satiate me. She was my first clothing designer. I often look back and appreciate how for love, she forsook her desires to meet the needs of her children.
They say a man often looks for a woman who embodies the qualities found in his mum. I don’t know how much truth there is to this on the whole, but I can say that my mother’s actions set the bar for the woman I would cleave to thereafter. If my life were an album, my mother’s demonstrable love was the hit single. Thankfully, she set an exceptional example for me to follow.
Our children absorb so much more than we are aware of. I’ll never forget my son challenging me when he was displeased with how I addressed his mother during a car journey. I said nothing untoward though my tone was certainly tetchy. Three years old at the time, he perceived that he did not like what I said. I received the correction before explaining to my son it wasn’t what I said, but the way in which I said it. I apologised for the offence and he pardoned me! It’s easy to forget that we are under the microscopic eyes of our children in the simplest of exchanges and daily encounters. My son read my body language and tone of voice with such sensitivity, at the tender age of three. I was reminded that what our children see us do may end up having the most profound impact.
My Dad helped me to prepare for my first ever stand-up routine when I was in Year 8. I cannot recall the advice he gave me on this occasion but the thing I remember most was his bright smile amidst the sea of parents during my first school performance. He was there, and he laughed at the punch-lines we had co-constructed. That’s what mattered most.
The love I received growing up grounded me. There was enough love to nurture the boy and anchor the man. Once these signposts became a part of my value system, they were hard to forget. It’s vital that the signposts we leave for our children point them in the right direction and show them how to be the human beings we so desperately want them to become.
What signposts will we create for our children to follow?
How will our actions help them to navigate their own behaviour as they become adolescents and adults? I hope that my actions model the love, respect, integrity and character I want my children to possess.
The final destination is beyond my control, but I take full responsibility for the significant part I play.
Yes, words are powerful. But, there are times when our actions speak louder, and linger…
Written by Cal-I J. Muirhead