Do you ever stop to think about things that were said to you when you were a kid? The words we say can really impact them in one way or another, or at least conjure up ideas that go way beyond what was said. Some of the phrases we heard as children are now being used by us or our children as they talk to their kids.
For example – when I was a child, I struggled with my weight. A malady that continues to plague me to this day. Someone once said, “Don’t eat so much. You’re going to explode!” Well, obviously it didn’t stop me from eating, but it sure stirred up images of little pieces of ME falling all over that person.
Grandma used to say, “Don’t make those faces. Your face will stay that way.” Maybe that accounts for all the lines and crevices I now possess. Actually a lot can be said about this. My face served as a mask for many years in the area of theater. Perhaps it has stayed that way.
We were reminded that if So-and-So was still alive, she’d be rolling over in her grave. I often wondered how anyone could roll over in their grave, not to mention the thoughts of being buried alive!
There was another one, which I hope is non-existent in this day and age, but it sure scared the bejeebers out of me. “Don’t eat so many sweets. Your teeth will fall out.” or “You’re going to get worms!” That one really sent me reeling. I visualized worms crawling in and out of my eyes, ears, nostrils and my mouth – filling the empty spaces which once held my teeth. It didn’t stop me from eating sweets.
When they told me to clean my plate because kids were starving in China, I wondered how that was going to help them. They would still be starving and my stomach would ache from eating too much.
When they said it was so hot outside, you could fry an egg on the sidewalk, I wanted to try it. When they said never, never touch a metal pole with your tongue when it was below zero – that was just the incentive I needed to try it.
Most of those old sayings have passed away, (I hope) but some of them remain. When we say something like, “Stop it, or else …” what does that mean? Or else what? How about when we say, “Don’t cry.” Are you kidding me? Am I just going to turn off the water works just because you said I should?
OK, that’s enough of this nonsense. I will close with these words: