Parenting and homeschooling are “learn as you grow” experiences. And, that growth is mutual. So, my mother and I have decided to list our top three life lessons that we’ve learned from each other. Here are mine.

1. Round Rolls

So, I’m a bit stubborn. I like to find things out on my own. I want some hard proof that the eye on the stove is hot and I shouldn’t put my hand on it. For me, it’s just better. I need to know that I can’t get to destination “B” without going on “A” to get there. Sometimes, I’d have success, and other times I just wasted time going in a full circle.

After one particular incident, my mother sat me down and discussed the whole thing with me. After chastising me, and questioning me about the logic and productivity of my “dog chasing his own tail” strategy, she sighed. Throwing up her hands, she said, “Nia! Can we at least agree that you can’t reinvent the wheel? Can we agree that round rolls?!?”

I agreed. It didn’t make sense to continue to build a square wheel. It was not only exhausting, it was stressful, and nerve-wracking. There was so much time spent on trying to create something that had already been invented. Let me tell you, when I took that advice, life became so much easier. Instead of just walking forward when somebody said that quicksand was ahead, I generally took the warning and passed it all together.

2. If You’re Scared of it, Then We’re Going

LOVE thrills. Roller-coasters, drop rides- all of them. I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed them so much. No, no, my love for thrill rides was taught and ingrained in me by my mother. My most prominent memory of this lesson took place at the Happiest Place on Earth.

It was 2008, and my family and I were at Hollywood Studios Park (formerly MGM Studios) at Walt Disney World, in Florida. We were standing at the end of Hollywood Boulevard, immersed in all of the magic, colors, and fun. However, instead of being a happy, smiling 8-year-old, I had a look of absolute fear on my face.

Those of you who’ve been to Disney World may know what I’m talking about. At the end of Hollywood Boulevard is a ride called The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. It’s based on the hit 60’s TV series, The Twilight Zone. This ride is set in the 1930’s on a dark and stormy night, or, in this case, any time stupid people decided to go visit the park.

All crazy, willing passengers volunteered and waited in line to go on an elevator cab that was to be struck by “lightning”, and then fall 13 stories for a period of 2-3 minutes. And people called that fun. None of that sounded like my cup of tea. I didn’t like drop rides. Something about having seen Five People You Meet in Heaven cleared me of my love for even the Frog Hopper ride they have at many amusement parks.

I had been to WDW a few times before and, thankfully, I was too short to go on the ride, so my mom went by herself. I stayed outside with my dad. But eventually, the dreaded time arrived. I was tall enough, and Mom was determined to have me as her riding partner on what was in my mind a frightening ride.  After a mini-meltdown on my part, she asked me why exactly I didn’t want to go on the ride.

I, in my very confident state-of-mind, said that it was because I was “scared”. And, to that, my mother replied, “That’s it, huh? Well, sorry, Hon, but you’re going on. I appreciate that you’re scared. But if your fears are going to hinder you from trying anything new and never allow you to step out of your comfort zone- then as the parent, who wants you to go out into the world someday and spread your wings, it’s my job to do what I can on this side to make that happen.” And, that was all she wrote.

I dragged my feet through the line. I looked down at the floor as the “bellhop” ride attendants did their creepy, “Welcome, but beware and enjoy your stay” act. I clenched my whole body and closed my eyes tight from the moment the elevator doors shut. I screamed bloody murder when it dropped.

But somewhere between getting off the ride, walking through the store where Disney wants you to leave all your money, and reaching outside, I relaxed and a huge smile gradually appeared on my face… And folks, I went on that ride four more consecutive times. I’m happy to say that it’s my all-time favorite ride at WDW.

I am so grateful for the push my mom gave me. Since then, I have never let fears stop me from doing something. (Now, that is within reason.) I ended up loving things I didn’t know I liked because I had allowed my fears to stop me. Don’t let your fears get in the way of something that’s, possibly, life-changing.

3. Remember the Lesson- Forget the Details

I used to be terribly traumatized by past “episodes”, as I like to call them. Now,  you know what “episodes” are. It’s those times when you did something disrespectful, inappropriate, or downright stupid and unnecessary, especially in front of people.

Things like: walking/ignoring your parents in front of other parents and their kids, having a temporary brain disconnect and lashing out at people for no logical reason, or making an absolutely arrogant or disrespectful remark. It includes those times when you disrespect someone (it could be anyone), disappoint someone (usually your parents), or in some way make a fool of yourself and want to hide in a hole.

I’ve had way too many of those “episodes”. And, they always used to torment me. The memories would come flooding back, and then I’d kick and beat myself up over the whole ordeal. My mom had started noticing, so she sat me down. She told me one of the best lessons she’s taught me. “Remember the lesson. Forget the details.”

One of my birthday parties was a complete disaster. I was arrogant and ungrateful and rude. It set a bad tone for the rest of the day. After the party, I continually beat myself up over the whole fiasco. There was no reason for it, and I didn’t know had come over me. Once I realized that I could just take away the lesson(s), and didn’t have to keep re-envisioning the disappointed faces and reactions from guests on that day, I quickly did just that.

In biblical times, winnowing was a way of separating the chaff from the wheat. You’d take the stalk and crush it gently in your hand. Then, you’d blow gently on you hand and allow the chaff, which was lighter than the grain, to fly off your hand. Then, you were left with the good stuff: the wheat.

Remembering the lesson and forgetting the details is like winnowing. You’re letting go of the bad, useless part of the experience, and being left with the gold. When you have one of those very embarrassing, “brain disconnect” moments, don’t be bogged down by the negative aspect of it all. Don’t continue to relive those “not-so-perfect” moments. Learn the lesson, make amends, and keep it moving.

The Journey Continues…

So, there they are, the top three profound gems my mom has shared with me so profoundly. I hope something resonated for you. I have no doubt that there will be a Part 2 somewhere in the near future with more lessons that I can share with you all.


Check out what my mom had to say on the topic here.

Want to hear more of our musings? Check out our Real Talk With Deb & Nia podcast!

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