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.
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.
One of my elderly relatives was always telling us not to sit on the concrete or we would get piles. Piles of what? I had visions of a giant mountain of concrete growing out of my backside. Not a pretty picture. I later learned that piles were really hemorrhoids, but that didn’t really change a thing.
That same relative constantly reminded us that if Grandma 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. Horrible images, I know, but 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 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 get me going.
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: