When it comes to Mother’s Day, I have a lot of regrets as to how I raised my children, but at the same time I thank God for helping me through the process. There were things I wish I had not said or done, but that’s all over and done. Now they have adult children of their own and most likely have used many of the same idioms on them. It seems like a passing of the gauntlet in a way – reaching from one generation to the next. All ten of the phrases listed in the attached image have been used in my lifetime. In honor of Mother’s Day, I have a few more:
- Clean your plate. Don’t you know there are children starving in China? For one thing, this would be totally politically incorrect today. Also how would my cleaning my plate help anyone who was starving – especially if I cleaned it?
- Money doesn’t grow on trees – Apparently my third child never figured that one out. She thought all we had to do was write a check and today, writing a check is pretty much obsolete.
- I’m going to pull over right now and let you walk the rest of the way home – They didn’t seem to be phased by this either, especially when we were nearing the driveway. Today this would be interpreted as child abuse.
- Someday you’ll have a child just like you – divine retribution. Chances are this will happen. It seems we continue spawn clones over the centuries..
- KNOCK IT OFF – This one seems to be timeless and has absolutely no value at all.
- Don’t sit on cement. You’ll get piles. – this isn’t used much anymore. I suppose most people don’t know piles is another word for hemorrhoids, but I don’t recall ever sitting on the sidewalk, because I though piles was something completely different. I had visions of piles of something growing out of the cement and into my body. Oh the imagery.
- Go ask your father – This one only brings confusion, because dad has already told them to ask mom. It also leads to deception when the child says, “She/he said it was OK.”
- If I told you once I’ve told you a thousand times – Really? I wasn’t keeping count, but now that you mention it, it could be more like a hundred thousand times.
- If your friend jumped off a bridge, would you? This is a touchy one today. Kids have a ton more emotional issues in this age of technology, you might become an accomplice to murder. Not saying that kids are more depressed these days, but statistics might prove me wrong and that isn’t funny. In other words, I would definitely avoid using this phrase ever.
- Sticks and stones will break your bones, but names will never hurt you – Who thought that one up? I wondered how my mom would’ve felt to be called “fatty boom boom” or “lame brain” Names do hurt often more than sticks and stones, but they hurt too. Life ain’t easy. Just pick yourself up, brush yourself off and start all over again.
I’m sure there are many more of those phrases and I’d love to hear some of them from you. The think is, our words can shape young minds. They can encourage, inspire and convey love, but they can also belittle, humiliate and actually give kids the wrong idea. Just as in our relationships with others, our conversations with our kids have to be meaningful and well thought out. Most of the time, we act in the moment and that can create some problems in the future. The beat will go on and you can count on your children, grandchildren and all future generations will rely on some of the above statements to make a point. It’s called parenting.
You do realize that your first point is part of the lyrics (monologue) from Alan Sherman – on “How I got fat.” It goes something like this, with patriotic music being hummed in the background. People ask me how I got fat. I got fat as a public service. My mother told me that I should eat my plate because children were starving in Europe. This was years before the Marshall plan was even heard of. So I cleaned my plate, 4, 5, 6 times a day. The children in Europe kept starving and I got fat. So, whenever you meet someone who is portly, a little plump, or otherwise tubby, do not scoff at that person. No, No!! Hold your head up high. Salute them, and say, “Hail to thee, Fat Person! You kept us out of war!!!”
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I love that story and it makes perfect sense to me🤣
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I liked the rest of the sayings and said most of them. I had a scout leader who made good on the making them walk threat, but he was waiting just over the crest of the hill. They never misbehaved again.
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My mom used to say, “They just pick on you to get a reaction. If you ignore them, they’ll leave you alone.” While that might be true of wasps and other poisonous insects, it was not true of the kids at school. Worst advice she ever gave me. J.
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