When I was in graduate school, I had to take classes in child development, as well as other classes that focused on how to educate children at different ages. Some of it was common sense, but all of it revolved around developmentally appropriate practices.
What took me by surprise was that my mother had done all of these things. She hadn't been to college, let alone graduate school, and she had never studied child development. She had her trusty paperback edition of Dr. Spock, and a mysterious black hardcover book that she referred to when she wanted medical information, but no one had ever told her about developmentally appropriate practices. I doubt she'd ever heard of such a thing.
And yet, instinctively, she had done these things. She raised my sister and me without benefit of the plethora of parenting magazines, books, cds and resources that serve to simultaneously simplify and complicate modern parenting. And, as the saying goes, we turned out just fine.
I called my mom back then to thank her, and in honor of Mother's Day, I'd like to thank her again. For knowing what to do. For giving her daughters things and advantages she never had. For teaching us the difference between loving someone and disliking what they do. For teaching me how to be a mother.
Thanks, Mom. Happy Mother's Day.