No one warned you. The “family secret” had been well concealed. Then it happened. You hear your mother's voice in your head as you utter, “You made your bed, now you have to lie in it.” Was it always your family legacy to become your mother?

Happy Mother's DayOne of the reasons we sound like our mothers is because of the learning tool of imitation. According to Andrew Meltzoff , of the Department of Psychology, University of Washington, “Imitation is a powerful form of learning commonly used by children, adults and infants. A child's enthusiasm for imitative behavior prompts parental attention and interaction, and provides a mechanism for transmitting appropriate cultural and social behavior.”

Our parents provide us with behavior patterns to assist us in interacting with the world around us. As we grow, our world expands to include friends, peers and teachers. These new role models introduce a variety of behaviors, some similar as well as different from our earliest training. As we reach adulthood, an assortment of genetics and learned behaviors form our personalities.

Every person is a collection of positive and negative habits, mothers included.The real question is, as we age, do we come to appreciate some of the positive lessons we have learned from our parents? These are only a few of my family's Mom-isms:

  • Safety – "Look both ways before you cross the street!"
  • Encouragement – "Don’t hide your light under a bushel."
  • Finances – “A penny saved is a penny earned."
  • Motivation – "Start as you mean to go on."
  • Health – "Eat your vegetables. They are good for you."

Start a list of your own family’s expressions. Do you sound like your mother? You might be surprised at how valuable they are. Undoubtedly, but you can learn to appreciate the best of her wisdom. Teach yourself new habits to replace what you did not like. Turn the “family secret” into a tool to improve your life. Mom always did want the best for you.