What Mama Taught Me – This Book is a Lighthouse

In doing research for today’s book, I read a ton about the author Tony Brown, host of the longest-running series on PBSTony Brown’s Journal.

So, what I guess I’ll say first is that What Mama Taught Me is intelligent, conversational and personal. It’s also very “woke” before the word came into being.

I like the inclusion it brings to the table.

This is not a black-or-white book. It’s not a race book at all, unless you’re talking about the human race. Back in 2003, which now feels so very long ago, it might have been controversial to suggest such a thing. These days, with BLM, it certainly would not be the focus… but, then… yes, I sense it was a gentle way of including us all.

The book also inspired me to go back to my childhood and take another look at the things my own mother taught me.

And also, of course, to go back to when my children were younger and visit the things I tried so desperately to teach them.

In both cases, at least in my mind, I missed the boat (at the time(s)).

To continue the analogy, I was left standing on the dock, alone.

What I mean to say is that I didn’t appreciate so much of what my parents – and in particular, my mother – were trying to instil in me. They gave me the tools I needed but I threw them overboard and jumped off the ship to do my own thing.

Later, in my quest to give my children the freedom to make their own decisions, I instead sent them on a raft with no oars.

Looking back, none of it makes any sense.

I ALWAYS had control. After all, I tossed the tools from my parents. Had I kept them, I could have shared them with my children. But alas, I didn’t have them to give.

Or something like that.

Of course, we almost always do our best as parents. I know I did. God knows I did. My adult kids? Not so much. Not that they say I sucked. They agree I did the best I could and that (at least) they always felt loved. I guess that’s something.


Books like this are lighthouses… shedding light on things we’ve missed or forgotten from our own lives.

Yes, you’re reading about someone else but you can’t help delving back into your own life. It’s really the mark of a great self-help book, even though it was filed under “Social Issues”.

But, anyhow…

Let’s visit The Seven Core Values according to Brown’s mama:

  • Reality: The Value of Being Yourself.
  • Knowledge: The Value of understanding your purpose.
  • Humanity: The Value of being one race – the human race.
  • Wisdom: The value of understanding history.
  • Truth: The Value of being true to yourself.
  • Patience: The Value of “Keeping the faith”.
  • Love: The Value of living joyfully.

Nice lookin’ list there!

Oh, to go back and start all over with my children! I swear, this is what I *thought* I was teaching them… I really did.

I’m sure my mother thought the same!

Don’t ALL parents try to emulate a list like this?

But this isn’t about me or my mother… it’s really a love letter to Brown’s mother.

He says, “Mama did not invent love and truth, she just captured it from the universal energies available to all of us – not for herself but for the world family.

What a remarkable person, yes? That brings up one of my favorite words: Legacy. I may not be able to change what has been… but I can change what happens from here on forward!

I can start using The Seven Core Values TODAY.

Yeah, I went back to my life, my story. I told you the book was a lighthouse. It keeps leading me back.

If we’re lucky, we’ll all live to a ripe ol’ age and will have years to share what we know with our children, grandchildren and those who look up to us. It’s not too late! Who’s with me?


  1. Beautifully put! And totally relatable! I’m especially grateful for the list.

    Rebecca Smith Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey, in this chaotic day and age if your children admit you did your very best and assure you they know you loved them, you are light years ahead of tragically many fully well intentioned parents — myself being one of them. Pat yourself on the back you’re letting the rest roll off of 😌

    Liked by 1 person

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