As my parents raised me, they offered a lot of advice, mixed in with the occasional threat when I was naughty, but mostly advice on how to get through this world. Their advice ranged from dating tips to helping the world become a better place. I want to share with you the advice which has stuck with me into my adulthood.
Look before you leap
In my home growing up we had bean bags instead of couches. They were overstuffed, soft and incredibly comfortable to sleep on. We often used the bags in our childish games like “Hot lava” where we had to jump from bean bag to bean bag to avoid being burnt by the “lava” in between. My all-time favorite game was running at full speed and using the pillow as a landing spot. One time I didn’t make sure that the pillow was clear for landing, and I ran, leapt, and jumped on my unsuspecting older sister. My mother warned me to always look before I leap in life and when using the furniture as a crash pad.
Don't wait until the last dog is hung
I like to procrastinate, which means I like to put off ‘til tomorrow what I should do today. My parents raised seven children and things had to be organized or they slipped through the cracks of day-to-day living. I have to admit I wasn’t always the most helpful when it came to making organization a priority. More than once I was told it’s too late if you wait until the last dog is hung. This advice was doled out when I “forgot” to finish a school assignment, neglected to clean my room and was not able to go play with friends, or anything which had a time limit and my own effort had to be stirred and I failed to apply myself until it was too late.
Remember who you are
My mom would utter the words “remember who you are” when I was going to be out of her sight and she wanted me to behave. My reply was always a noncommittal, “I know, mom.” Essentially she was telling me that my actions reflect not only on me, but the family as a whole. I shouldn’t suck as a human because she raised me better than that, and if I did start to slip there would be repercussions. It was always a mental speed bump if I was tempted to deviate from what my parents expected of me.
If a man honks for you in the driveway he better not come to the door
My father is a gentleman and treats my mother like a lady. He gives me a great example of what to look for in a man and is a constant standard of how I should expect to be treated. When I was approaching the age of sixteen, I was watching television with my dad and on the sitcom a boy was picking up his date from her home. The guy honked his horn and waited for the girl to come out. My dad turned to me and said, “If a boy ever honks for you in the driveway, he better not come to the door.” He relapsed into silence, and I was reminded that my dad cared for me too much to let me date someone who will not treat me like a lady.
Were you born in a barn?
Credit: Deposit photosGrowing up I was sometimes careless of any interest or comfort other than my own. This immature way of thinking led me to leave toys in the living room, lights on in the hallway, and doors wide open. When I was thoughtless and left a door open in front of one my parents, they would ask if I was born in a barn. If you aren’t familiar with country style living, barn doors are left open so the animals can come and go for food and shelter as they please. This was a not-so-subtle cue to get my head out of the clouds and think of others because I’m not having an isolated experience. My choices affect more than me.
What goes around comes around
My parents are wonderful examples of kindness and service to friends, family, and strangers. As a child, I didn’t understand why my father would pull over to help a stranded fellow traveler, pay the toll for the car behind on a bridge, or simply listen when someone at the store would strike up a conversation. It seemed to me as a child that if I gave to someone else there was going to be less for me. When I would complain to my parents the response more often than not would be, “What goes around comes around.”
I have learned over the years how vital it is to think outside of only my needs and be willing to give kindness and service to people who will never be able to pay me back. Kindness breeds kindness and what you put out to the world comes back as an echo.
If you are done learning you might as well kick up your heels and die
Credit: Deposit photosIn our household learning was very important. It didn’t matter what you were studying just as long as you were learning something new. I didn’t like to learn in the typical school setting, but we had a set of encyclopedias that I pored over every Sunday afternoon to learn something new. That same drive and encouragement to keep learning has pressed me into studying languages, crafting of all sorts, and always looking forward to a new experience which I can add to my repertoire.
My amazing parents have been the strongest influence in my life. They steered me in the right direction, but they let me learn the truth of their words with my own experiences. What advice have your parents offered which you chose to or not to heed? How did it turn out? Let me know in a comment.