Mom wasn't always right

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Angela Suafoa
  • 62nd Airlift Wing lead master resilience trainer
One of the greatest things about going through resiliency training is being able to look back on life lessons, especially those my parents taught me.

My parents taught me some things deliberately (such as "Work hard, then play hard," etc.), but most of the impactful and negative lessons came through modeling.

After completing my resiliency training, I found that one of the negative lessons I learned is that my mom was one of the biggest "catastrophizers" ever.

She assumed the worst in almost every situation. I can recall plenty of times that I didn't answer my phone immediately or was late for curfew and my mom was already making phone calls to the local hospitals or police stations.

She didn't do this because of my track record--I was a pretty good kid. She did it because my mom's thoughts automatically gravitated to the worst case scenario. She was sure that I was in a road side ditch somewhere. From my mom's example, I became a "catastrophizer."

Now I'm a mom and I hope to pass on all of my positive life lessons, but we all know that even those negative lessons find their way into our adulthood and eventually passed down to our kids, if we don't learn new ways of thinking.

Learning to "put things into perspective," which is one of the 12 resilience skills, has taught me that when events in our life occur we need to be able to counteract the negative thoughts and jolt our brain back to reality.

By taking a "time-out" and thinking about the best case outcomes and the most likely outcomes, we are able to get back on track and be more productive.

I think we all can benefit from changing some of those hard wired lessons from our parents and start changing the way we react to events in our lives.

We are all better Airmen, Wingmen and family members when we can deal with the situation in a positive way and grow from all our life experiences.

I love my mom to death, but wish she would have had some resilience training and saved me from following her catastrophizing ways!