Just yesterday, my son (in typical three-year-old boy fashion) started the morning by being a bit naughty. Levi, “I stated firmly, “please don’t do that.” With pride in his little eyes he said to me, “If I do it again… I get time out”. Well, my heart just about burst out of my chest with glee at that moment. (I know it sounds weird. Keep reading.) My baby boy who hasn’t always been much for talking, had gotten it. The sentence he spoke was my constant follow-up after asking him to stop said negative behavior. He hadn’t said it in a cheeky manner but rather with a tone of, “I know mommy. I understand. I’m sorry.” Levi showed me in that moment that he really always had been listening. I was so proud that he probably thought I was crazy! This got me thinking about the actual strength of my words and the importance of really instilling good morals and decision-making skills in each of my children. He was becoming familiar with consequences, a tough but obvious instance in day-to-day life and my persistence as a mommy started to make sense.
I thought back to all of the things my family had taught me over the years. Certain lessons had really stuck with me and sort of helped me along my journey of becoming an adult. I vowed right then to pass the special ones onto my children. Sometimes it really is the little things you hold onto for life and the littlest words that shape a person. Here’s hoping some of them bring my babies comfort and get them back on track when necessary.
–Never put anything in writing you don’t want to last a lifetime
This one is ironic because, well, I’m a writer. It pertains mostly to emotionally-charged pieces, where you may fly off the handle or say things you wish you could take back. It’s always a better idea to jot down your thoughts and use them as a guideline for a good old fashioned phone call. This way, the person can’t hold onto things you did not mean for all of eternity. Also, conversations are mostly forgotten over time. Written words live on forever. My mom really instilled this in me from a young age and still beats this point home whenever she can. I get it, mom! I love you! See, I was always listening and it’s now in print!
–The things you worry about the most never happen
My dad’s silliest and truest go-to phrase. Silly, in fact, only because it’s true! I’ve found it mostly holds for life’s trivial problems. You forgot to study for a test and the teacher is absent or you get super worked up about having to see someone at an event and they never show. When I’m stressed about what may happen and run through a million scenarios in my head, I try to remember these words of wisdom.
Pretty much as it sounds but a mantra that stuck with me growing up. Above all else, I want to raise good people and I’m hoping they find these simple words as important as I always have. DTRT is about to be a 4th generation thing and for good reason. There’s plenty of bad out there, so choose to rebel. Having a good heart begins at a very early age and is hard to teach later on. I want my children to know that, although not always the easiest or most fun, doing the right thing will bring them the most fulfillment.
–It’s all bullshit
My Poppy loves this one so much, he had a graphic artist draw it up and frame it for his desk. He’s not much of a potty mouth so it’s always super surprising to hear him say it. And my Nanny (Grandma) certainly never appreciated it-haha! But when you have lived as long and through as much as he has, it’s a no brainer. Very few things in life are important. Health, happiness, someone to rely on, a roof over your head…the rest is simply the poop of a bull.
–Pick your battle
I think this one is on a lot of people’s lists… and for good reason. If you get caught up in every little thing that bothers you or weighs on your mind, it will be a difficult existence. Know what you can live with and only choose to work through things that are truly important to you and will make a difference. In high school this meant letting a girl try to steal your style, but drawing the line when she tried to steal your man. Now it means letting your toddler eat a bag of potato chips but flying into psycho mom status when he repeatedly and purposely, dumps his shake on the floor.
–Don’t be offended by friends who don’t treat you the same way you treat them
This one’s from my hubby and I didn’t learn it until my 20’s. I tend to go above and beyond for my friends and I’ve been burned before. I used to completely shut down when a friend didn’t do the right thing for me or, more aptly, I believed that they hadn’t done the right thing. I’ve since learned that not everyone holds the same standards that you may in life. Just because you would choose to act one way and your friend does not, it in no way means that they wouldn’t move mountains for you if needed.
This lesson also holds true for said mantra man himself (aka hubby) and has helped us to have a strong and loving marriage. Insert quickie example; He sucks at any and all holidays (and remembering to get me cards), but I know he loves me with every fiber of his being and that he only forgets because he’s not used to being in charge of anything in the household. In my younger years, I may have sulked and thought it meant something deeper or that he didn’t care. Instead, over time, he has shown me just how much he truly cares, but shows so in his own way.
In the end, everyone is different and certain expectations can only lead to disappointment. Let the people who love you show you where they shine. You can tell the difference between an oversight and a user. And, if you can’t, send in your best friend… the one who will beat up anyone who hurts you (that’s where I come in).