Did I Have a Mean Mom?

We always made our beds.  We always said, “May I be excused?” before leaving the kitchen table.  We produced spotlessly clean windows and trimmed all the edges when we mowed the lawn.  Our mother set a standard and we attempted to perform to that standard “or else.”  Sometime this required, how shall I say it?, strong language from my mother.  She was not tiger mom, my mother Josephine Hatton, at least not in the sense that she was preparing us for success in an adult life.  She just enforced high standards of performance by her children and  I now understand how hard that was on her.

We never saw mom’s gentler side though she had one, particularly in relation to my father, but I know her perpetual attention to detail must have taken a toll.  I know this because I feel the same  tension (as far as I know) when I attempt to hold my class to high standards – in their writing, in the completeness of their knowledge, and in enforcing a certain level of fairness.  I feel sometimes that I am swimming upstream against currents of unaccountability and looseness.  I makes me seem mean and I don’t think I am mean.  My mother wasn’t either.


About jrh794

I am a sixty-five year old math instructor at Southern Oregon University. I taught at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed California for twenty-six years. Prior to that I worked as a computer programmer, carpenter and in various other jobs. I graduated from Rice University in 1967 and have a MS in Operations Research from Stanford. In the past I have hand-built a stone house and taken long solo bicycle tours. Now I ride my mountain bike and play golf for recreation.
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One Response to Did I Have a Mean Mom?

  1. Todd Campbell says:

    Is life mean? No, it is just life. If our youth are not brought up a firm grip on what it takes to make it out there then life will chew them up and spit them out. I don’t think anyone should apologize or feel bad about holding a high standard. I have three children who have all complained that I demand perfection…( I do accept excellence). My job is not just to nurture there emotional development but more importantly to provide them with the “life lesson” that will enable them to stand on their own two feet and make wise decisions. It would be mean to allow them to think that life rewards apathy.

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