Some lessons have to be learned the hard way

Published 5:15 pm Thursday, June 6, 2024

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It seems that last week’s article about things my parents taught me struck home to a lot of folks. In fact, I’ve received so many emails asking for more that Siri has threatened to beat the crap out of me if it didn’t stop. So, back by popular demand for part two is more things my parents taught me.

While I’ve spent over twenty years of my life pursuing a higher education, my most valuable education came from those childhood lessons. For example, my parents taught me some valuable lessons about logic. When I asked why I had to do my chores and my mother would say, “Because I said so, that’s why”. It’s hard to argue with that logic. My mother always took the time to teach me about the effects of natural disasters. In fact, many times she would say, “It looks like a tornado hit your room”.

My parents taught me to always think ahead and to make good decisions. Why I can’t count the times my mother said, “Make sure you wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident”. The headlines would surely read, man dies in car wreck with dirty underwear on. My parents also always taught me to respect hard work. In fact, my mother always told my brother and I, “If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside, I just mopped the floor.”

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I remember once, my father tried to teach me about time travel. Yes, he said, “If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week”. Never knew how that was possible but wasn’t willing to change it so I accepted my lesson and kept my mouth shut.

I loved to climb in the barn loft as a child. My mother was convinced that I was going to fall to my death, and she would say, “I swear if you fall out of there and die, I’m going to kill you”. I tried to explain that I’d already be dead and killing me was of no use. If I can offer a helpful hint, never try to apply logic to a mother already mad. With similar logic, I also remember playing with the lawnmower despite being told a hundred times not to. My father busted me, and he said, “When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me”. O.K., without toes, I don’t think I’d be running anywhere but I’ll note that for future use.

Going to church on Sunday in my childhood home was required. It didn’t matter how late you stayed up on Saturday night, you were expected to get your butt up on Sunday for church. My mother reenforced those lessons when I was bouncing my basketball in the house and when things went wrong, she said, “You better pray, that Kool-Aid stain comes out of the carpet”. I was praying alright, but I was praying that I wouldn’t get the order to go cut a switch.

My parents taught me that all uncivilized children were born in a barn. Every time I would leave the front door standing wide open, my father would say, “Close the door, where you born in a barn”?

My parents taught me about the circle of life by saying, “I brought you into this world, I can take you out”. I remember once my mother taught me about irony when she said, “Shut your mouth and eat your food”. Always being a wisecracker, I would say, “I can’t eat unless I open my mouth”. I do not recommend doing this. My butt still stings from that one.