What I Learned From My Mother’s Walks Not Talks #Walk 15

Watching one of Robin Sharma’s Mastery Sessions I felt impressed. Sharing the 5 top lessons for leaders he had learned from his mentors made me admire my mother more. Though she quit her job thirty years ago she lived her life as a leader, a role model and a great source of inspiration for people around her. ‘Run your own race’, the first lesson Sharma shared, my mother did it with excellence. Devoting herself for her family didn’t catch her from taking care of herself. She was always well dressed and in good body shape though getting pregnant many times. She took care of her mind, her social relationships and her spiritual side. 

‘Be eccentric’, his second lesson, she modelled it to the best she could. She had her own habits in studying for us, her routines to discipline us and her high value system. 

‘Be deep vs light’, the third lesson, was reflected in the way she dealt with life events, especially the ones she didn’t expect or didn’t like. She was a great example in how a person see things correctly and turns lemon into lemonade. 

‘Stand for world class standards’, the fourth lesson, was obvious in all her walks. She was a perfectionist and accepted nothing to be done in average quality. Whatever she did she put her heart in it and she ran her duties with mastery. She would spend hours to feed her grandchildren, singing for them and entertaining them, turning the meal for the toddlers into an enjoyable activity. 

His last lesson; ‘Be kind’, perfectly describes her. Whether by her words or her actions, she set a phenomenal example of kindness and compassion. She would call the cook after a party to thank him for his effort and delicious cooking. She would insist to serve food for the helps before she eats and make sure to serve them generously. She would buy a fan in summer and blankets in winter for the porter. 

Ending my series of ‘What I Learned From My Mother’s Walks Not Talks’, I admit that she had put her best every single day to model how a great human being could be. Though her walks were very inspiring, I still struggle to adopt them all. I try to act them out as much as I can and I try harder to embed them in my children so that they pass them in the future to their children too. My mother was never a normal lady, she is a great leader and inspirer who’s leaving a legacy with her unique walks. 
Read the intro to this series of articles at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/09/16/what-i-learned-from-my-mothers-walks-not-talks-prologue/

  

What I Learned From My Mother’s Walks Not Talks #Walk 14

Preparing for me my trousseau my mother did unbelievable effort in a very short period of time. I got engaged and in six months I got married. During these months my mother and I spent time together more than usual, looking for furniture, fabrics and every single detail needed for the house of the bride. 
As a bride in my twenties I had minimal experience in such stuff. My mother almost scanned all shops and stores in our city before buying anything. Durable was her first criterion. She insisted to check that anything we will buy will be in best quality and price. 

Though almost two decades had passed since then, my mother still do the same. She would get a list with the shops and their numbers and call them to check all details and decide the best option and then hit the store to buy it. She does it with proficiency, devotion and passion. 
From this walk I learned that with same amount of money one can buy a lot more by checking offers. I figured that the price we pay in goods must be relevant to the durability and usage. I learned that passion always remain the same while practicing it might change depending on one’s circumstances. And most of all I comprehended that being stressed in time must not be an excuse to lower our standards. 
Read the intro to this series of articles at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/09/16/what-i-learned-from-my-mothers-walks-not-talks-prologue/

  

What I Learned From My Mother’s Walks Not Talks #Walk 13

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” This quote for Benjamin Franklin reflects many of my mother’s walks. Since I was a child my father used to throw parties often. My mother would ask me to give a hand in setting the dinning table, in writing the grocery list or the menu. She would dictate and I write. After the meals she used to ask for help in the kitchen, keeping a share from the food for the less fortunate and storing the rest, always in clean dry boxes.
During the holy month of Ramadan, though having helps, she would distribute some of the Iftar responsibilities on my sisters and me. One would be in charge of the salad, another for the table setting, one for preparing the juices and one for filling the dishwasher at the end. 
From my mother’s walks at home I learned one of the most important parenting lessons. Good parents should embed in their children the sense of responsibility and ensure that they can serve themselves and live independently, as life has its ups and down, so they must prepare them for the unexpected. 

Even though we had helps at home, my mother ensured that we can do almost every home chore which made us reliable wives later. From these walks I learned how practicing a task over and over develop the person’s skill and let him have what we call ‘experience’, even if it’s on a small scale. And for sure this walk made me comprehend how tasks become less stressful and less time consuming when divided on many persons. I learned that family members must collaborate together. I understood that children must give a hand at home since their early years. I learned that mothers must not handle the family chores alone. Most of all I learned to use lists to plan my tasks and how planning is fundamental to success. 
Read the intro to this series of articles at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/09/16/what-i-learned-from-my-mothers-walks-not-talks-prologue/

  

What I Learned From My Mother’s Walks Not Talks #Walk 12

I hate cooking, I dislike kitchen work and I prefer any other home chores rather than cooking. When my children got enrolled in school I started preparing them lunch boxes and I still do even that my son became a university student. When my children turned into teens some of my colleagues advised me to stop preparing snacks for my children and let them do this task themselves. Though my son and daughter are responsible and independent in many areas of their lives yet when it comes to their lunch boxes I insist to do them myself. 
Thinking of my mother’s walks it was easy to relate my attachment to this chore. Food was a love language that my mother practiced for many years. When her close uncle got severely sick she used to cook him herself his favourite dishes and go feed him in his mouth. In feasts, despite her old age, she refuses to hire cooks and insists to cook for us our favourite yummy dishes. In my primary years I was underweight and she used to prepare me food for school and insist that I eat what she serves me at home to be in good health when I grow up. 
From my mother’s walk I figured out that love is very different than what I watched in movies. I learned that love is a verb. I comprehended that people can happily do what they dislike when they do it out of love. I recognised how food can nurture our beloved ones when they are sick if it’s prepared with love and how it can help them heal. The sad part is that I still hate cooking. Yet when I prepare lunch boxes for my family members, their breakfast or their dinner I do it with love and I tell them that this food was prepared with genuine love. I use it to fuel them emotionally not only to nurture them physically. 
Read the intro to this series of articles at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/09/16/what-i-learned-from-my-mothers-walks-not-talks-prologue/

  

What I Learned From My Mother’s Walks Not Talks #Walk 11

My mother got married in her first year of university. Though being married and giving birth to my two eldest sisters, she insisted to continue her education, trying her best to excel in her studies. 
Years later she started working. Busy with my sisters, my father and me, she limited her working hours as a professor for college students to ensure being at home before we return from school. When I turned eight my mother started pursuing her dream of getting her Masters degree. Months later she got pregnant, which was neither planned nor expected especially that she was almost forty years old and already had three daughters. Few weeks later my mother quit both her job and her masters and freed herself completely for the baby and us.
Though thirty years had passed since this event, I find my mother one of the most intellectual persons I know. Quitting her job and her masters didn’t catch her from nurturing her mind and keeping herself aware of the world around her. She reads daily and watches informative and valuable TV programs. Every time we meet she has something useful to share.
 My mother never complained that her family caught her from fulfilling her dream. And from her walk she taught us many valuable lessons. She was able to put first things first like the effective people Stephen Covey talk about in his 7 habits book. She never played the victim leaving her brain to rotten and blaming fate or circumstances. She modelled how a person can live as an independent life longer learner. Her thirst for learning was contagious to me and my youngest sister; the unexpected baby.
Read the intro to this series of articles at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/09/16/what-i-learned-from-my-mothers-walks-not-talks-prologue/

  

What I Learned From My Mother’s Walks Not Talks #Walk 10

Commitment is the thing people commend me the most for. Whether in my work, my personal life or my passion, people always praise me for being committed. 
My daughter, in her primary years, needed lots of help from my part to create for her work routines, to help her organise her working environment and to train her to become independent. It took me months to see some progress and years to turn her into an independent learner. 
Reflecting on myself as a parent I remembered my mother who had devoted herself to help us, her daughters to improve academically. In my school years I was always an average student except for Maths in which I excelled. Yet in all other subjects I used to get a B and few times a C. I would go home after my demanding school days to find my mother preparing for me exercises and worksheets to practice my lessons. Though having already worksheets and tons of homework given to me by my teachers, she never found them enough. I was enrolled in a French school and there weren’t any external books available back then in French. My mother would buy external books in English and Arabic and translate them to French to prepare for me the extra worksheets. As a child, working more than any of my classmates, practicing and studying frustrated me. I used to complain from my mother for suffocating me with studying and working that much. 
Connecting the dots lately I related my mother’s walk to mine. What she did with me in my childhood wasn’t about subjects, grades or results. It was way more profound. She was embedding in me values, developing my attitudes, stretching my abilities and shaping my character. Her walk taught me to do my best whether as a student, an employee or a mother. It developed my endurance and made me persistent. From her walk I learned that I should keep doing my best even if I don’t witness prompt results. I comprehended that it might take children decades to practice what they were taught. I figured out that what we teach to children never goes in vain. And most of all I believe that this walk made me the committed person people praise and commend. Her walk was a great inspiration in commitment and parental love. 
Read the intro to this series of articles at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/09/16/what-i-learned-from-my-mothers-walks-not-talks-prologue/

  

What I Learned From My Mother’s Walks Not Talks #Walk 9

In my late twenties I was diagnosed with hepatitis. The doctor asked me to rest in bed for 2-3 weeks then to have another analysis to track my condition.As a hyper active person, I felt mad being asked to rest in bed for all these days. I thought of reading books, watching TV, yet I knew I would still have time, long time, to remain still doing nothing. The idea was truly frustrating. 
On my first day in bed my mother arrived early in the morning before my husband leaves to work. She closed the curtains of my bedroom, turned off the lights and took a seat on a chair next to my bed. She stayed there doing nothing for the whole day. Unbelievable, right? She didn’t do that only on the first day, she did it every weekday during my first three weeks of my six weeks sickness.

Can you imagine being forced to stay for eight hours silent and still in darkness with very short breaks to eat? During these hours I was going crazy. I told my mother one day that I felt buried in a grave, hoping that she loosen her rules, yer it didn’t move her. She was committed to help me recover completely. From her perspective, any efforts I do was going to catch my liver from full recovery. Watching movies, reading books and engaging in conversations would move me emotionally, which was something that might affect my recovery, she insisted.
Remembering this walk I wonder how my mother had this discipline and this patience? How she sacrificed all these days from her life, punishing herself to sit in darkness silent and still by my side so that I recover. 

From this walk I learned the concept of devotion. I witnessed motherhood in its purest forms. I learned that time passes anyway and that one shouldn’t sacrifice the long term benefits for short temptations. I understood that in sickness people might lack self-discipline and their beloved ones must care for them more than they care for themselves,
Read the intro to this series of articles at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/09/16/what-i-learned-from-my-mothers-walks-not-talks-prologue/

What I Learned From My Mother’s Walks Not Talks #Walk 8

Monmon was my nickname since I was born. My family members used to call me with it from my early years till my adulthood and now my nieces and nephews use it too. While growing up, my mother, in some cases, would use my first name ‘Iman’ not my nickname and call me to her bedroom and close the door tightly. By time I understood the pattern. My first name followed by locking the door meant I did something wrong.
My mother depended mostly on eye contact to discipline my sisters and me. A stare would freeze me and force me to reflect and correct myself promptly. Calling me to her room always meant I did something that requested a talk not just a stare. Her talks were decent, to the point and in low voice that no one else at home would notice that I was being reproached.
Reading in parenting after giving birth to my two children, I learned how praise should be in public and reprimands should be in private. And I admired my mother’s walk which she did naturally without having such parenting books at hands.
From her walk I was brought to have dignity. I understood that people respond more when they feel respected. I learned the concept of privacy. I comprehended that it isn’t mandatory that siblings know about each other’s mistakes. I learned that loud voices have nothing to do with power or strong characters. I comprehended that eye contact is a real powerful tool in communication. I learned that to bring up respectful children I have to respect them and to model respect.
Read the intro to this series of articles at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/09/16/what-i-learned-from-my-mothers-walks-not-talks-prologue/

What I Learned From My Mother’s Walks Not Talks #Walk 7

My parents were married for nearly four decades. They weren’t anything like Romeo and Juliet. Since I was a child I figured out that the love I watched in romantic movies didn’t exist between my mother and father.In his last years on planet earth my father got sick, severely sick. He had to stay in bed and to use a wheel chair even to go to the bathroom or to shower. My mother made herself in charge of moving him from the bed to the chair and vice versa, which happened several times a day. And this lasted for years. During this period I witnessed my mother ageing. Her ophthalmologist in a check up advised her to stop lifting my father by herself as he was heavy and carrying heavy things was putting her retina under a serious risk.

Weeks, months and years passed and my mother kept carrying my father herself. Daily. One day I questioned why doesn’t she hire a nurse for this task when we were financially capable and why risking her sight. My mother explained how my father, as a famous and well respected surgeon, felt embarrassed to have a nurse helping him in the bathroom or showering him. And as his wife she would never put her husband under such emotional pain or to let him feel embarrassed in his late years. 

She kept doing this task till he passed away. In those years my mother transformed from a beautiful lady into an old one. Looking at her face I saw wrinkles and traces which I respected, admired and treasured. They reflected one of the longest and most challenging walks in her journey. And I wondered, if my mother didn’t feel these sparks of love towards my father, why did she do what she had done? And would she have done anything more if she was a Juliet living a love story in her marriage?  

My mother’s walk taught me how to be a human being. How to have compassion. How to be patient. How to persist. How a person stands for his values on daily basis. How to be loyal. She taught me how a great wife should act. From this walk I learned how marriage is something sacred and how the vows couples give should be lived forever. Every time I look at my mother’s wrinkles that appeared during these hard times I remember my father, her walk and my inner voice whispers that my mother had set very high standards for marriage that not anyone can be up to. 

Read the intro to this series of articles at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/09/16/what-i-learned-from-my-mothers-walks-not-talks-prologue/

  

What I Learned From My Mother’s Walks Not Talks #Walk 6

Since I was a child I used to hear people commenting on my mother. ‘Coquette’ and ‘à quatres épingles’ were the adjectives most commonly used to describe her by her family and friends. Her interest in fashion grew with her since her early adulthood. And marrying a famous surgeon had put her under the spot lights; a beautiful young lady, from a respected family, well educated and always well dressed from head to toe. She looked like models with her fashionable outfits and shaped body.

Walking with her one day in the narrow streets of a poor district in our city, I noticed how her outfit was totally different than what she’s used to wear. If anyone had seen her he would have mistaken her for a person from a very modest social standard and who had limited resources. 

Observing how she walked in humbleness, how modestly she was dressed, I learnt my lesson on what to wear when and where. From her walk I learnt that human beings must respect people’s feelings and that compassion is an attitude and a personal mindset. I learned that not only my words can hurt the less fortunate people yet even my outfits could hurt. 

Read the intro to this series of articles at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/09/16/what-i-learned-from-my-mothers-walks-not-talks-prologue/