The details are kind of blurry but the emotion stuck with me. My friend and I, both maybe 7 or 8 years old, were in the back seat of our car and my mom was driving. We saw a classmate of ours out the window and my friend said "Let's hide so she can't see us!" We giggled and ducked down. My mom immediately scolded us: "How would you like it if someone did that to you, behind your back?!" Though ducking down didn't seem like that much of an offense, I felt terrible. My mom knew very well, as did I, that the intention was to be exclusionary and giggle at our friend's expense. Looking back I think it's funny, and so naive, that her question surprised me.
From that moment on, I have always thought about a person and how they would like to be spoken of before I say anything about them or share their personal information. Something so basic I should have instinctively known but the truth is, I had to be told. As much as that moment stuck with me, I know it was also watching my mom that taught me how to treat others. I have never seen her gossip, speak badly about someone, or derive pleasure out of anyone's misfortune. I hope my children see the same when they watch my husband and I.
Thank you Mom!