Mom’s Everyday Advice

Lea Cassel Matthews - Murrysville, Pennsylvania
Entered on October 29, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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One of my mom’s favorite things to say is, “Do the right thing, at the right time, and you will never be sorry.” While I was growing up, those words didn’t mean very much to me.  I would just wrinkle my nose and groan every time I heard them.

This year, with the thought of going away to college rising in my consciousness, I have found myself reflecting on that advice.  I believe the quality of our life is defined when doing the right thing transcends from us to benefit someone else. It isn’t found in those extraordinary moments of pivotal resolve, but rather in everyday, more ordinary times, when we have the opportunity to brighten someone’s day or make someone smile.  The deeds that really make a difference in our lives are the simple acts that don’t take much effort, like a quick phone call to thank someone for a kindness or to see how a friend is feeling if he or she hasn’t been well.

When my grandfather was sick, I heard Mom saying, “Call right now.” I had just gotten home from school, and all I wanted to do was relax, but I made the call. After hearing the gratitude in my grandfather’s voice and knowing how much it meant to him, I knew I “did the right thing at the right time.”

When my cousin asked me to help her put a scrapbook together for our grandmother’s eightieth birthday, I heard Mom say, “Do the right thing at the right time.” Each time my cousin called, I had something more important to do first.  My cousin put the scrapbook together by herself, and I will never forget how small I felt when she presented it to Gram and said it was from both of us.

“Doing the right thing at the right time” is paramount. It speaks to our integrity and the very core essence of who we are. Anything can be said by words, but actions prove our level of commitment to our ideals and values. They’re the testament of what we profess to be true.

I’m not sure what college I will be attending next year, but I am sure that Mom’s words will be echoing around me. When the lonely girl in the dorm room across the hall is by herself, I will hear Mom say, “Do the right thing,” and I will invite her to dinner.  When a friend needs help studying for a final exam, I will hear Mom say, “at the right time,” and I will help her when she asks.  When I see a friend hurting herself with an eating disorder, I will hear Mom say, “You will never be sorry,” and I will take her to a doctor.  Those words that I didn’t think about much growing up have become a part of me, without my even realizing it.  My commitment will always be to “do the right thing, at the right time,” so I will never be sorry.


Lea Cassel Matthews is a native of Murrysville, Pennsylvania (a suburb of Pittsburgh). Ms. Matthews currently attends Duquesne University and plans to become the fifth-generation dentist in her family. She had the opportunity to spend two summers studying dance in Italy and has recently signed on with the e-magazine Sweet Lemon as a contributing author.