Did Your Mom Teach You This?

by Lorraine Morgan Scott

Many of us remember our moms (or dads) telling us over and over again to do “_________,” Whether it was brushing your teeth, flossing, making your bed, wearing clean underwear – or whatever s/he nagged. How many of those lessons did you keep into adulthood?

In the book I was writing on parenting and child development (I’ve since shelved it because there are a lot of books on the market),” I write a chapter on organization and minimizing stress, especially in the morning. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that certain techniques taught to children may enable them to lead less stressful and more productive and purposeful lives.

Backpacks by door

One technique, (the one I’m talking about), is preparation. As in – prepare for tomorrow tonight. Gather your schoolwork or presentation material, choose your clothing, etc., even change purses – the night before. True example: I planned to attend an event on Saturday, I needed to leave the house by 10am. The outfit I was wearing would be ruined if I carried my everyday purse (literally, ruined), so practicing this technique, I prepared the cute little silver purse that would complement the outfit – the night before.  I’ll tell you a secret: I lose time in the morning (it disappears – poof, an hour is gone!) and getting out of the house on time for me is difficult. This Saturday wasn’t any different. If I had not prepped my purse the night before, I’d have had to carry my big, black, leather, everyday purse and thus ruin the exceptionally cute outfit I was wearing!

So I ask you, did you learn this technique as a child and has it carried over to adulthood for you? Do you gather – the night before – whatever materials you need to take with you the next day? Or do you run around in the morning looking for things (like hats, keys, or golf balls).

I got one of those mom-feels-good moments when talking with my adult son the other night. He causally mentioned (when talking about something else) that he prepares all his stuff and has it waiting by the door so he can leave on time. I thought whoosh! score one for mom’s training.

This preparation technique is even helpful when making to-do lists. When I know what my priorities are for tomorrow, I find I wake up with a plan and tend to get more done. Besides, I love crossing things off my list! When I don’t prepare for what I want to get done – I find I get less done, spend more time figuring things out, I sit around aimlessly or I’m a little scattered.

So let me know- does this work for you? Did you learn this technique as a child? Have you taught it to your child? What other childhood techniques have you carried into adulthood?

I’m curious, and I’d like to know.


Lorraine Morgan Scott


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