I was discussing with someone recently about important things our parents told us growing up, particularly the ones that we remember most vividly, and the messages we want our kids to remember.
The thing is, you never know WHAT your kids will remember.
Here is what I remember most that my mom told me when I was a kid:
- You're smart enough to do anything you want.
- People will always judge you by the manner in which you speak.
- Always line your curtains with a neutral fabric facing the outside of the house; it's tacky to see the pattern of your curtains from the street.
- Your face is not proportional. Just do the best with what you have. (She was a professional artist, and teaching me to draw at the time.)
My daughter is 18. The only wise words I've shared with her so far are:
- Always be aware of how your actions affect others.
- Motherhood is like having a roommate who sponges off you constantly, makes a mess, can't drive, and doesn't have a job; you can't do anything about it; you're stuck with that roommate for the next 18 years or more, so make sure you're ready to have something who is that needy for the next couple decades before you get pregnant, or else use protection.
- Always be aware of how your actions affect other people.
- Everyone has an idea of what "normal" life is like. When you meet the person you want to live with or marry, paint a picture in your head of what your life will look like: your house, your day, what your children will be like, and how you'll raise them. Make sure that picture is a lot like her picture, because if it isn't, you will argue.
- I don't care what anyone ever tells you, or how much you think you trust her; use protection (he usually covers his ears when I tell him this and yells, "MOM!" It embarrasses him no end when I even BROACH to subject of s-e-x.
- Don't use drugs. There's no quality control in them. Coolness and friends come and go, but brain injury lasts forever.
I imagine that my youngest son will remember something obscure, like, "keep your refrigerator full; it saves energy."