• Helen Martin

This I Believe

Updated: Apr 16, 2019

My mother was a deeply religious woman, and never shied away from living and practicing the teachings of the church.

For instance, Mother thought it was a sin to gossip, and therefore, refrained from its dangerous pull completely. She believed by ‘doing the right thing’ her children would be protected from unfounded or hurtful gossip from others. She simply believed that.

There were so many things she taught us. She embodied the essence of style and provided us with insight to the principals of a cultured life; manners, speaking well, art appreciation, reading, playing outside, singing together and practicing good posture.

There is one principle that has had a great influence on me, and has become a personal belief; it’s taken from a church teaching my mother followed religiously throughout her life, administering God’s Grace in times of illness, merely stated as – Visit The Sick, which of course included, the elderly, the housebound and anyone alone.

Always on her missions she would take one of us along; there was never a discussion about what she was doing, we learned this principal by example - she would just gather up whichever one of us was around, and off we would go to see whomever was in need of company, food, or a helping hand.

It is so ingrained in my sisters and brother that we just do it. Visiting the sick, the elderly and persons alone is a natural part of our lives.

Another principal I learned from my mother: that of social behavior; the front runner of manners and social behavior is how we greet our fellow human beings. Simply recognizing one another as we pass through this tragic comedy of our lives, reassures all of us we are not alone while traversing daily pitfalls, disappointments and indeed our most joyous triumphs!

I believe it is our duty, one to another, to acknowledge each person who crosses our path, be it a nod, a smile, a wave, and Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening; powerful words, easily said, slide trippingly on the tongue.

Manners, behavior, deportment – Upon presenting my report-card to my mother, her eyes would pass over all the subjects, I was an A-B student, occasionally the dreaded C would appear, but the subject line for Deportment, as far as she was concerned, should always show an A. Of course, we don’t grade manners anymore –I mentioned deportment recently in conversation, several adults were not familiar with the word; a pity certainly.

Illustrations by Sherry Vicars


@2019 by Helen Martin. Proudly created by Wisdom House Books.