Life Lessons To Live By, From Mom

mother and daughter laughing on couch
Love, Family

10 lessons about life, and herself, that one woman picked up from her mom.

My mom's a middle school English teacher and over the past, oh, 25 years or so, she has taught thousands of kids. Her reputation precedes her too. She's known for being tough and strict—maybe even a little demanding—but serious students know she's the best teacher for the job. She loves what she does, she's passionate about the subject, and she gets results. Sometimes, years after leaving her classroom, students will send my mom a "thank you" and tell her they were far more prepared for high school and college than their classmates who didn't have my mom as a teacher. And I know what they mean. My mom didn't just help prepare me for school; she prepared me for life—and in a big way. After the jump, the ten best things my mom, the teacher, taught me. The Frisky: I'm Older Than You. Here's Some Advice

1. How to read.

When I say my mom taught me how to read, I don't just mean she taught me the alphabet and how to sound out words on a page. She did that—she is an English teacher, after all—but perhaps more importantly, she taught me how to read for pleasure. She read to me almost every night well past the time most other parents were reading bedtime stories to their kids. She created comfy reading nooks in our various homes (my favorite was a great big papasan chair my parents bought in Japan, where I was born), and she made sure we visited the library and the bookstore frequently enough that I always had a pile of books ready to consume. Reading has fueled my imagination, kept me company when I was lonely, and made me a better writer. The Frisky: 15 First Date Mistakes To Avoid

2. Embrace your size.

My mom is six feet tall and full-figured—a big woman by American standards, but downright Amazonian in Asia, where I happened to grow up. I hated watching strangers point and laugh at my mother, but never ever, in my entire childhood, can I remember a time when my mother put herself down. Despite her size—or maybe because of it—she has always carried herself with confidence and grace. I can't say I always have that same confidence about my own body, but I know growing up with her as a role model has given me a far healthier attitude than I would have had otherwise. How can I feel bad about my hips when my mom, whose hips I inherited, always exuded beauty? The Frisky: The 6 Biggest Mythconceptions About Being In Love

3. Hair is important.

Anyone who has ever met my mom knows this is a huge understatement. My mother is a freak about her hair. Always has been. She's been known to spend an hour styling her hair just to run to the grocery store. She says hair is a woman's crowning glory, and you know what? She's right. When my red hair started fading a few years ago, she was the first person who persuaded me to start coloring it. And I'm so glad I listened to her. Just like she doesn't feel herself if her hair isn't "done," I don't feel myself when mine isn't red. Some other mothers may say we're silly or frivolous; my mom would say we just know what matters in life (and feeling good about yourself ranks pretty high). The Frisky: MERRIme, A New Web Comedy About Online Dating