Thursday, August 03, 2006

Pearls of Wisdom

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:
  1. You're smart enough to do anything you want.
  2. People will always judge you by the manner in which you speak.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)
So far, my oldest has thanked me for teaching him how to begin a new paragraph whenever you're writing dialog, which I don't remember ever teaching him. That, apparently, is what he remember most so far.

My daughter is 18. The only wise words I've shared with her so far are:
  1. Always be aware of how your actions affect others.
  2. 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.
The messages that I've been giving my youngest son repeatedly lately, hoping they'll sink in, is:
  1. Always be aware of how your actions affect other people.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Don't use drugs. There's no quality control in them. Coolness and friends come and go, but brain injury lasts forever.
What do you remember most from the things you're parents told you? What do you tell (or plan to tell) your kids that you hope will stick? I'm curious.
I imagine that my youngest son will remember something obscure, like, "keep your refrigerator full; it saves energy."


  1. Wonderful post!

    I remember my mother telling me "two wrongs don't make a write" and when I tell her "I'm hungry" or "I'm thirsty", she says, "Hello, I'm Linda, nice to meet you". In other words, learn to take care of yourself. She taught me to be compassionate towards all people. I won't go into details, but it has always stuck with me.

    My Pops taught me that I will never accomplish anything if I never try. He told me this after I hid in a tree to get out of swimming the butterly in my speedo at age 8. Needless to say, I was fat, wearing a speedo, and I sucked at butterfly big time.

    That's is what comes to mind first.

  2. Mom...
    1. You can do anything you put your mind too.
    2. Rember the little train that could.
    2. Marry your best friend.
    3. The best anti-depressant is exercise.
    1. Learn to be comfortable eating in a restaurant by yourself
    without a book/newspaper/etc.
    Grandparents (non-biological)
    Unspoken - Family doesn't necessarily mean sharing DNA.

  3. both of my parents used to inform me that they "were my parents and NOT my friends." This usually came when I said something I shouldn't have, but the message was definately driven home.

    Yes, I am in an especially foul mood today.


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