Saturday, August 06, 2022

The parental example

What life lessons did your parents teach you? We had a question like that in a group exercise at the women's club this week. I wrote a blog about this in 2007, and it's a good thing because by 2022 I would draw a blank.

Thirteen Little Things

When we are children we learn life time lessons from our parents, some by their words, others by actions. Today I'm jotting down 13 habits, techniques, behaviors, attitudes, etc. learned from my parents that are still with me, some without thinking about them, some throw aways, in no particular order. Chime in with a few of yours.

1. If you are with someone, always open the door and let your friend(s) walk through first.

2. Make a square, military corner on the bottom sheet (when I was a little girl there were no fitted sheets) to keep it from pulling loose. Stop to admire your effort. Although I don't do this now, the principle of doing something right the first time and taking pleasure in it is a good one.

3. Always wear an apron in the kitchen. Aprons certainly aren't what they used to be, and it seems to me food splashes more, so when I put one on, I often think of my dad who always reminded me, even as an adult.

4. Turn housework into a game (usually against the clock). My mother was big at trying to make "work" into "fun." This usually got an eye roll from me and a whine.

5. Respect others with your appearance. Both my parents would "fix up" for the other after their work day, and we always ate as a family with properly set table, pleasant conversation.

6. Clean up the kitchen after the meal; never leave dirty dishes on the counter or in the sink. I often fail with this one--maybe this would be a good New Year's resolution.

7. Start the week right with church attendance.

8. A gentleman always comes to the door to pick up a lady for a date. First timers meet the parents.

9. Sit like a lady (this was back in the days when girls and women usually wore skirts or dresses). Corollary: don't slouch.

10. The proper way to answer the phone. We often had to take orders for my dad, so this greeting I no longer use. However, I still keep paper and pencil by the phone, and I try not to mumble. I also overheard how dad spoke to his customers and even today I expect this from business people.

11. "A soft answer turns away wrath." This is my mother's from Proverbs 15:1. Never quite grasped this one, but it worked for my mother, who lived it and often quoted it. I can't remember her ever raising her voice (but she had a look in her eye that could stop you in your tracks).

12. The person who feeds the puppy is the one who will be loved by it. Usually this was Mom, because despite all our promises to care for it, she's the one who usually took pity on the poor thing. When I was growing up the dogs and cats lived outside. If it got bitterly cold, they could stay on the porch or in the basement.

13. In your lifetime you will probably have three really good friends. I'm still thinking about this one. Life has different stages--friendships vary--but the number seems pretty accurate.

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