Your parents aren’t right about everything. They aren’t perfect, and their style is slightly (if not very) off base at this point. But that’s okay. They birthed you, bathed you, and brought you into this world, and they can take you out of it just as easily, young lady.
But when it comes to life’s best advice, it’s probably going to come from one or both of your parents. Let’s face it, they have accumulated years of experience, lists of mistakes, decades of lessons learned. You and I won’t ever catch up in terms of wisdom. So why do we rarely listen to them?
In honor of mother’s day (it’s Sunday!), this week I am going to write a handful of blog posts about parenthood, motherhood, and childhood. Today’s topic? Good advice I just didn’t take from mom and dad. Maybe you can commiserate.
1. Two and through.
This is my mom’s favorite piece of dating advice. It rhymes. It’s short. And, now, I know it’s true. Basically, the idea behind “two and through,” is just that– if you’ve dated someone for two years and it’s not leading to marriage, then the relationship should be through. Anything more than two years and you’re just fooling yourself, fooling around, or being fooled. I really didn’t listen to this one too well, but then again, I was pretty self-diluted when it came to dating.
2. Get your masters when you have the chance.
This piece of advice came from my PhD father, who studied mathmatics, systems engineering, operations research, and STILL ended up with the coolest man-job on the universe: he’s an athletic director and gets to watch sports for a living. Apparently, he learned early that smart people get hired, no matter what it is you’ve studied. So, when I had the chance to get a masters in Education–he said go for it. But I didn’t. I wanted a life, my money, and I was pretty sure I didn’t want to be a life-long teacher. Still–he was right. I should have taken the opportunity when it was handed to me.
3. Be extroverted, even if you’re introverted.
My mother is probably the most outspoken, friendly person you’ll ever meet. As a kid, I remember standing in the grocery store line and melting in humiliation as she struck up conversation with the guy behind her over toilet paper, asked the cashier questions about her personal life, and exchanged phone numbers with a lady in the parking lot for no apparent reason. Life with my mom always seemed to move so slow because she was always making new friends. Still, she will swear that she’s an introvert. Now, I’m starting to understand her approach. Even if a night on the couch sounds better than a night out on the town, being friendly, hospitable, and engaging pays off. Her effervescence is what landed my father his current job in St. Simons. Her straightfoward approach is what makes her such an excellent counselor, mentor, and friend. I’m trying to listen to this one.
4. Chip away at it.
This is my dad’s favorite phrase, and one I quickly forget when I’m staring at an unbelievable mountain of work, or a seemingly impossible situation. When life gets overwhelming, Dad always reminded us of this methodical (yes, systematical) “hakuna matata” attitude. Nothing is too difficult to accomplish, he says, if you just do a little bit at a time. Most of the time, I’d rather just throw a hissy fit. And that is definitely not something that Bee Carlton could ever stand for.
So what about you? Is there good advice your parents gave you that you didn’t listen to until later in life? What was it? Is there any advice that you’re starting to listen to today?