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We all have our memories of “Mom” and many of mine come from conversations I had with her in the kitchen.  While I do have two siblings, I like to say that I am the oldest only child of three.  My brother is five years younger and my sister is eight years younger.

I spent a lot of time as a child with mom before siblings came along and it continued while they were young.  Thinking about those hours spent with Mom in the kitchen made me think of the lessons learned.

Those memories made range from simple conversations to the conversation when I was eight about how could Santa travel around the world in one night.  I was convinced he could not make it all happen and yet today I still believe.

These are my top five lessons learned from kitchen conversations with mom.  They are as applicable today as they were many years ago.

Have a plan – The French have a culinary phrase Mie en place which means “putting in place” or “everything in its place.”  When mom would begin dinner, I always noticed that her first actions were to gather the pots and skillets that she would need for the evening’s meal.  I see the benefit of being prepared in nearly every aspect of life whether it is planning your weekly meal plan or having an agenda for the meeting tomorrow.  Having a plan and putting it in its place does not ensure success yet certainly increases the opportunity for success.

There is always room for one more – As we grew from infants, toddlers and young children into teenagers there seemed to always be the “can my friend stay for dinner”.  Nearly always the answer was yes, and we set the table for six instead of five.  Today we seem self-absorbed in our technology and social media.  Adding someone to your conversation is a way to both give and receive at the same time.  Recently, Tina and I had ventured out to Twenty Feet Seafood Joint for great seafood and BYOB.  Standing in line we met a visitor to our city who was dining with his French bulldog.  Striking up a conversation that led to him joining us for dinner.  We both commented later that evening about how enjoyable it was to learn about him and his business that was moving to the DFW area.

Go ask someone – As much as Mom planned meals and was prepared, there was that occurrence when she was short an egg, a cup of sugar or another common kitchen item.  She would call my name, tell me what she was needing and tell me to “go ask someone” if we could borrow the needed item which of course would be repaid the next day.  Fellow SMU Alumni Bob Beaudine wrote The Power of Who: You Already Know Everyone You Need to Know on that exact concept.  When you need something, go ask someone you know.  I am constantly amazed when I hear the comment, “I sent them my resume, and no one has called me.”  Ask someone you know to make that introduction.  It can be accomplished, you just must “Go ask someone”.

Be flexible – Friday night dinners at our house were a course in logistics.  Each of the children seemed to have something going on from 4 to nearly 6 and then there were the Friday nights where I wanted to go to the High School football game.  Somehow Mom found a way to have a meal that was always hot and ready when each of us appeared for dinner Then she and my Dad would sit together and have dinner.  Mom would have made a great air traffic controller!

Dinners not over until the dishwasher is loaded and the kitchen is swept – While the front end of our dinner meal was always easy to see the back end and the clean up was just as obvious.  As children, we knew that when we were excused from the table that was the signal that clean up was next to occur.  Each person, Mom excluded, would begin to clean the kitchen, load the dishwasher and then the kitchen would be swept.  That was when dinner is over.  Today it is no different in everything you do, it is the attention to the details at the end of the assignment or activity that set the plate for the next activity.

These life lessons are all around you and I today as we work, play and live.

Thanks, Mom for all the great conversations,

Happy Mother’s Day

PS      Yes, I still make my bed up before I leave the house each morning Mom.

Michael Tannery CPA, CDFA® AIF®

Registered Principal

Tannery & Company

Tax – Accounting – Wealth Management

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