An Excerpt from Good Mothering by Tiffany Tyndall — The Entirety of 6. Leave a Legacy

Pass down something of worth (that is, in character value, not monetary value).  You might not have millions, but it’s not the money that makes the human, anyway.  Choose to mother your children in a way that gives the word mother a good name.

For example, when you overreact, acknowledge it and apologize for it (once you’ve had a chance to cool off a bit).  Allow your children to constructively express their emotions, even the negative ones, and teach them how to be responsible.  Comfort them when they hurt, and give them the love and attention they need.  Treat them with kindness, and handle disputes with gentleness and grace.  Give them the space they need to grow into their own person, and always be ready to offer a word of encouragement and praise.

Seek to build up your children, not tear them down.  Make it your mission in life to give your all for their benefit.  Speak and act in ways that heal, not hurt.  When mistakes are made, address them, correct the wrongs as much as possible, and move on.  Learn from your experience, and value wisdom.

When you have this kind of perspective on things, then it matters less how big your house is or how much your income is or how important your family is in society.  The real legacy that we leave to our children is the one that they pass down to their children and so on, the legacy of love.  Let your name become known because of how much you cared for others and how much others felt that you cared, not because of the material wealth you possessed.  Possess, instead, the riches that cannot be taken away: those of love, joy, and peace.

The qualities of our character are the things of true value that we pass on to our children.  Let this notion guide you as you make your way on the path of good mothering.

Good Mothering: Doing the Best Job You Can Despite the Inherent Difficulties that Come with the Life-with-Kids Territory by Tiffany Tyndall is available for purchase here.

This writing is also included in Loved: Writings on Motherhood and Caregiving, a collection of reflective and expository writings by Tiffany Tyndall.

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