What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?

By Jonathan Pettit

I was about ten. My mom had just finished creating one of her amazing meals, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Delicious. Later, as I was washing the dishes, my mom came up to me. “Sorry dinner was so awful again,” she said.

I was shocked. “What? No, it was great. I loved it.”

“Really?” she said, with mock surprise. “You always eat so quietly, never saying anything. You’ve never told me you liked my cooking, so I thought you hated it.”

“No, you’re the best cook I know.”

“Then you should tell me that,” she said. “Whenever someone does something nice for you, you should thank that person. If you don’t, then she might think she’s not appreciated and stop doing those nice things.”

Something clicked right then. From that day forward, I thanked everyone for literally everything. If you did something that even vaguely helped me, I thanked you profusely. It became a habit, something I didn’t even think about, and that’s when the magic started happening.

People liked me more. They talked to me more, shared with me, were more friendly. In my first year of high school, during the final week I came home and found a giant freezie waiting for me. “Thanks, mom,” I said instinctively.

“This isn’t from me”, she said. “This is from your bus driver.” He had been driving that bus for years, and my siblings and I were the first person to ever thank him as we got dropped off. Those two simple words made a huge difference, so much so that he went out of his way to tell our mom and give us a present.

That’s the power of appreciation. When you have it, all is right in the world, but when it’s missing life is empty. My mom taught me many things, but taking two seconds to say “thank you” every time, in any situation, was the best.


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Vocabulary Help

  • again – novamente
  • amazing meal – refeição fantástica
  • awful – terrível
  • cook – cozinheira
  • dish – prato
  • empty – vazio
  • friendly – amigável
  • from that day forward – daquele dia em diante
  • hate – odiar
  • huge – enorme
  • later – mais tarde
  • might think – pode pensar
  • missing – faltando
  • mock surprise – surpresa fingida
  • mom – mãe
  • nice – legal, bacana, bonito
  • power – poder
  • share – compartilhar
  • sibling – irmão
  • teach (teach, taught, taught) – ensinar
  • tell (tell, told, told) – dizer
  • thank – agradecer
  • throughly enjoyed it – aproveitei totalmente
  • wash – lavar