Always leave a place a little better than you found it.

Today’s message is another from my parents.

One day at the mosque back home, my mother and I noticed a huge mess in the ladies’ room. Nobody else was cleaning up the strewn-about paper towels, or mopping up the stale water, but my mother started on her hands and knees, clearing out the mess.

When I asked her why we had to clean, when nobody else was, she turned to me and said she was always taught to leave a place a little better than the way you found it.

Her mother had imparted that message on her when she was young, so at that age, she figured I was ready to hear the same message.

This message always runs through my head when people ask what my mother is like – she is the kind of person whose faith guides her, but its the practicalities that draw her, too. She’s the kind of person who will stop a stranger to ask if they’re ok, if she sees them crying. Or she’ll put her arm around you when you don’t expect it.

While it’s not always convenient, praiseworthy, or fun, she always lives this message. With her genes in me, I hope I can too.

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