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Sunday, May 13, 2007

how to behave

Sunday Post ~ "The two biggest questions to ask ourselves in life, at any age, are: Are most of the people I know glad that I am here? Am I glad that I am here, myself? Anyone who can honestly answer 'YES' to those two questions most of the time has learned to BEHAVE in this world and to live a happy life." -- from the book, above

If you look at my Mother's Day posts of the past couple of years, you'll see that I am not territorial about this day, as a mother. I see it as a celebration of the qualities in any person that go into mothering others. Nurturing, guiding, taking care, being an example to, teaching others. I want it to be a day of inclusivity for all those who extend themselves to others. Thank you to those of you who visit here and have mothered me in these ways, with empathy, advice, reality checks, humor. And thank you to those of you who've let me mother you a little bit, without taking offense or recoiling in horror.

Today is not just Mother's Day. It's my Mom's birthday, too. 84. I've been thinking and talking with a couple of my brothers about some of the things she said to us as we were growing up. Little Momisms that we heard far too often to appreciate back in the day, but that have stuck with us.

As many good Hillbillian mothers do, she would preface some of her sayings with, "Remember, the Bible says . . . " In adulthood, I've discovered that the Bible says no such thing, much of the time.

"Cleanliness is next to Godliness." I'm pretty sure this was a "the Bible says," but it doesn't. But it could. But it doesn't.

"You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar." And my eye-rolling response was always something like, "Yea, but who wants FLIES?!" Even so, this one probably had a lot to do with helping shape my personality.

"You're no better than anyone else." I learned this one well.

"You're no worse than anyone else." Still working on this one, sometimes.

"You treat the janitor the same as the governor." Not that I ever had much occasion to interact with either the janitor or the governor. But if the opportunity ever presents, I'll treat them the same. I'm pretty sure I got that one down.

"Never put off 'til tomorrow what you can do today." I have SO flunked this one.

"If you want something done right, do it yourself." I bought this one for many years; it's not really the best advice, IMO.

"Things will look better in the morning." This is often true; sometimes, these days, it's just for a moment in the morning, but still, it's true.

"Pray about it." Got that one.

"Never take from someone what you can't return." She was talking about someone's reputation. That's a good one.

"You can dress up a dog turd and make it look good." I don't think that one was in the Bible. And then there was the seemingly contradictory, "You can't polish a turd."

"It doesn't matter how you feel, as long as you look good." This was partly in jest, but partly not. The message was something akin to what Shawkey's mother told her, "Get up and do something, you'll feel better." My Mom was saying that even when you feel lousy, you should get your bath, and "fix your face," and put on something pretty, and nice-smelly, and you'll feel just a little better. And I have to admit, grudgingly, it's the truth.

"Now smile and get it all over your face." She would say this when I was being pouty, moody, and it would make me mad, but I would eventually be unable to not smile, then laugh.

"Pretty is as pretty does." People thought I was a cute kid. They told me that rather frequently. This was her way of communicating to me that what was inside was more important than what was outside.

And the absurd, but hard to argue with, "People have more fun than anybody."

My Mom doesn't know about my blog, or any blog, for that matter. So this isn't really "for" her. She did teach me how to behave, and why. Her advice ranged from the deeply philosophical to the exceedingly silly. Just thought I'd share a little of her with you, today.

So what did your Mom tell you?


Proverbs 1:8-9

file under: &Sunday Post &Family

26 heads are better than one . . .

Blogger Heartworks said...

This came from one of my "other mothers" and I have used it time and again.

"You can stop sticking your finger in your eye anytime you want."

Blogger Squirl said...

Your mother sounds like a pretty smart woman. You do too.

Thanks for your kind words. Those of us who weren't so blessed to have children don't always look forward to this day. But we do nurture and we interact with children of ALL ages.
Thanks for remembering us, too.

Happy Mother's Day, Happy Sunday, dear sister. Be well.

Blogger Dawn said...

"Never put off 'til tomorrow what you can do today." I have SO flunked this one.

I flunk that one everyday. Hey! We can be flunk sisters, and help and guide and pray for use to do one thing each day we don't want to put off.

"If you want something done right, do it yourself." I bought this one for many years; it's not really the best advice, IMO.

This one, I was getting away from, now I'm living it again. Not sure what it means, or how God is going to deal with this, but He will.

The verses (you know I always look them up even if I don't post) This part:

"reject not your mother's teaching; A graceful diadem will they be for your head; a torque for your neck".

If I did not reject my mothers teachings I'd be an alcoholic in denial, having my oldest child taking care of 2 younger siblings, cooking, cleaning, and never getting it right.
But, I reject. My consequences are unknown, but I reject.

This is a beautiful post Susie. I love you and you are in my prayers.


**good thing blogger does not erase the comment each time you get the WV wrong, or I'd be here all day. Hopefully, 4th time is the charm. ;-)

Blogger Nina said...

From my Grandma, "the color of skin means nothing. If we ripped off everyones skin we would all look the same. We would look disgusting, but none the less we would be the same."

Or the

"Go outside and blow the stink off ya."
This was to get us children to play outside.

"Let the flame inside you grow. The light will be so intense with no place to go but out. That is true beauty and that glow will let people know, that you are special and not just a pretty face."

Happy Mother's Day Susie!

Blogger sometrouble said...

My mom has told me a lot of wise things...most of which I rebelliously refused to listen to. (I have to do it MY way, and find out for myself). Stepping into my own adult life, I am just starting to realize how smart and right she is. My mom did an amazing job raising me and my sister, and I am so thankful that she loved me enough to make my teenage years so seemingly "difficult". She loves me so much, and I am so lucky!

Oh, and my grandmother always told me, "You don't have to like it, you just have to eat it."

Blogger Susie said...

heartworks, thank heaven for wise "other mothers." I love that one :)

squirl, I think my Mom is pretty smart.
You naturally share the qualities of the best moms, with many people.
Happy Mother's Day, Squirl.

peaches, it's a deal. We'll each do one thing that we've been putting off. Oh, I'm so excited! :)

Sometimes it is a big challenge to find something that our mothers taught us that we really want to embrace. And to find ways to honor the dishonorable. Some mothers teach us, by example, what not to do. Maybe that's the teaching we embrace from them.
I love you, Peaches.

nina, you are wise like your Grandma. Happy Mother's Day, my friend.

sometrouble, what a nice tribute to your Mom. Now go tell HER! :)
Your grandmother's words remind me of what I tell the parents of my adolescent clients. Some of them want the kids to do chores cheerfully. Not gonna happen, in most cases. So I tell them, "they don't have to like it, they just have to do it. Let that be enough!"

Blogger eclectic said...

Hmmmm, so many possible directions to go with this post, Susie. First, Happy Mothering Day! Thanks for sistering/mothering me.

And thank you for the peek at your own mom -- she sounds wonderful, as I'd expect.

Now, as for something from my mom, probably the thing I heard most frequently was to the effect of, "You think you're so smart, don't you?" Which ultimately has taught me that even a good quality can be a negative if used without consideration for others.

Love you. Big.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think I'll go into the things my mom told me however I surely do love hearing about the things your mommy told you!

I especially like the "Smile and get it all over your face" one!

Happy Mothering Day my dear friend.

Blogger Sandi said...

Two of my Mom's pearls were: "Unless you have an excellent memory, don't lie" and "Before you marry a man, see how he treats his mother - that's how he'll treat you." Both have proved invaluable!

Blogger Lynn said...

Happy Day, Susie!

Anonymous Ortizzle said...

Just read your comment over at my place. How funny we took this same approach to Mother's Day.

Your mother's sayings sound a lot like my grandmother's sayings. The flies and the honey one was actually something my Dad used to say. The only one I remember my mother saying more than once was "Nobody's going to buy the cow if the milk is free." Sheesh. That was antiquated even in those days, LOL.

Thank you for 'motherly advice'... you are a great mom and a great role-model. HMD back atcha!

Blogger Redhead Mommy said...

I remember in high school my mom told me that sometimes it's just better to act/play dumb. After that I stopped listening to her.

Now days, I can sort of maybe see a bit of wisdom in what she said, if she meant it in a not-to-show-your-hand-all-the-time sort of way. Who knows?

Anonymous Jeannie said...

After raising my 4 brothers her pearls of wisdom for the only girl- "Just don't come home in a police car."

So far I've followed her advice.

Blogger Susie said...

eclectic, thank you for the same, my dear. My mother does have some wonderful qualities, and since it's M's Day, that's what I wrote about. Your comment reminds me of the times she told me, "Don't act smart!"

traci, I like that one, too. I don't think I've heard it from anyone else. Happy Mother's Day.

sandi, those are good; I hadn't heard the first, but it is wise. My mother told me the second one, too! And it is usually very good advice.

lynn, Happy Mother's Day, again, and thank you for the forward. Very nice :)

ortizzle, thank you for your kindness. My mom said the milk and cow thing, too! Geez, I hope I don't say that to my kid. Equating marriage to "buying the cow?" Lordhavemercy, the whole thing makes me . . . lactose intolerant!

redhead mommy, that reminds me of something similar my Mom used to say, "Never let your left hand know what your right hand is doing." I'm still not sure I get that one.

jeannie, you can't argue with that one! :)

Anonymous Sharkey said...

I'll have to send my mom over here to visit you--she'll be thrilled that you quoted her.

Her other famous line was said every time we were at a relative's house for a holiday or Sunday dinner. We always had the main meal around noon, and then they'd bring out the leftovers for another round before everyone headed home so my uncles could do their farm chores. She would always say, "You better eat now, because I'm not fixing anything when we get home!" Cooking just really isn't her thing.

It's not exactly advice, but it makes me think of her. I even say it to JP when we're in a similar situation.

Happy Mother's Day!

Blogger judypatooote said...

First off, beautiful flowers.....
All that sounds so familiar, and I have to confess to saying most of that to my kids....and really most of it is true....for we moms do have a way with words, don't we....

The one that gets me is " a penny saved is a penny earned" now that's not true, for if you found a penny laying on the ground, someone else earned it, lost it, and you found it....you can save it, but perhaps you didn't earn it.... gosh, I'm rambling again, sorry.......judy

Anonymous sheryl said...

Happy Mother's Day, dear Susie.
Love you,

Blogger Pebble Princess said...

"Don't ever write anything you wouldn't want to read on the front page of the Washington Post."

"To thine own self be true."

Thanks, Mom, you are so right!

Blogger Von Krankipantzen said...

Happy Mothering Day, Susie. I honestly cannot think of any particular saying my mom used to repeat during my childhood- good or bad. But she did pass on some very great habits that are a major part of my life now. She read to my bro and I every nght and as a result I have loved reading more than pretty much anything. Also she is a spectacular hostess and I have learned how to treat guests well from her. She has amazing attention to detail in all things and I seemed to have picked that up too which can be a joy and a curse in many respects.

If I could only spell as perfectly as she can.

Blogger WILLIAM said...

My Mom used to say stuff like "stop that or you'll go blind"...and "it'll stunt your growth"...

Was that the type of sayings you were looking for?:)

Happy Mother's Day Susie.

Blogger Effie said...

"remember your p's and q's"

"always wear clean underwear, you never know when you're going to get into an accident and will have to see a doctor"

"if you keep making that face, your face will stay like that..."

Blogger Susie said...

shawkey, I would be honored to have Mama Shawkey visit :) My Mom would say something similar in that situation, like, "You'd better eat now, you'll be hungry later." Huh?

judyp, ha, some of those old sayings hold up to scrutiny, some of them are quite a stretch.

she, thank you, honey. Happy Mothering Day to you :)

pebbleprincess, those are both excellent. I tell my daugher now when she's emailing, "Don't put anything in an email that the whole world can't read." Advice I should take, myself.

momoyoshi, what a great comment; it really is more important, what moms do, the example they set, than what they say. "Actions speak louder..."

william, how many fingers am I holding up? How tall are you? :p

effie, that is classic advice, about the underwear. You know how many doctors I've seen lately, and they're always noting on my chart, "underwear nice and clean," "undies a little ratty today," it really is so medically important. And my mom said that, too, about the face! "Do you want your face to freeze like that?!"


If I quoted some of the things my Mom has said, you'd think she was awful, which she isn't. For example, I got my incurable potty mouth from her. And one of her favorite things to say, when at least one of her four kids has washed up on her doorstep is, "Would you please just get out!" (We have a sick sense of humor in my family.) She taught me to be polite to everyone, especially sales people. I also learned a deeply engrained respect for other people's privacy and boundaries from her. (That's one of the main reasons her daughters-in-law adore her.) When I asked her about that, she told me she'd learned that from her mother. She's a tough little Italian broad - I really get a kick out of her.

Happy "Mamas Day" (as my niece says) to you, susie, all the mamas who visited here, and especially my Mom.

Blogger little sister said...

Belated happy Mothering Day, Susie!

My momma was a hillbilly and when I was little she had good things to say...but my father gradually sucked her personality out of her so now her utterances are autotronic repetitions of my father's warped thoughts. My sister and I can only lean on each other in order to endure what's coming as my parents age.

So that's why I grab up tidbits from people who are funny, thoughtful, kind, and nurturing....people like you! Thanks for your blog. I don't always comment, but I always enjoy it and I always learn something. We only e-know each other, but I'm glad your here.

lil sis

Blogger Karen said...

When it came to "how to behave", the Queen figured heavily in my mother's advice to me. (This was way back in the day. I used to dream I'd grow up to marry Prince Andrew. Now I'm really glad I didn't.)

Anyway, my mother would tell me to behave at the table as if I were having dinner with the Queen.

She never told me much about janitors, though.

Blogger The other me said...

My mum used to tell me not to do anything I didn't want the world to know about. Stood me in pretty good stead I think!


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