If you are anything like me, you have a saying that fits perfectly into any situation. My grandmother always told me to “always take the high road” and that is a mantra that has stuck with me through out my entire life when faced with tough experiences. As a teen that had an unhealthy attraction to the “wrong crowd”, when surprised at my own misfortunes, I would remember in the back of my mind “if you lay down with dogs, you will wake up with fleas“. Funny how these litte quips can later on in life add to your character and help you make decisions through out.
As I grow older and watch myself turning into the “adult” I never thought I would be, I can’t help but think some of the sayings I am imposing on my own daughter, not only will the undoubtedly stick with her, but I ought to be careful as to which ones I share and the meanings behind them. Though in good nature I find myself almost subconsciously saying some of them, I think to myself, perhaps I ought to explore the meaning, and make sure that are exactly what I mean to say.
“Money is the root of all evil”
This is one of my favorites, derived from the bible, it can easier express my thought that money doesn’t bring happiness. With a toddler who has an obsessive desire for material items, I can find myself in a situation mumbling this her way instead of really getting to the core that its not what you have that makes you wealthy but who you are. Although I have good intent behind it, It could definitely give her the same negative association with money that I have had for many years. A lot of my negative association with money comes from eastern religious books I read as a teen, that at the time I really might have misdirected the essence of the teachings that having money is not synonymous with being greedy and corrupt. Money is not the root of all evil, greed and corruptness is. Money itself only has the value you give it.
“No Pain, No Gain”
Here is one that I’ve definitely said to myself sweating and panting breaking in those new running shoes for my third consecutive failed new years resolution to “get in shape”. The good intention here is that struggling and working hard allow you to reap the rewards. This is definitely true in many cases, but in order to be successful and happy in your life it doesn’t always have to be painful or hard. There are plenty of situations where your reward is from something that didn’t feel like work at all. I can definitely say that my marriage has been one where the reward is the road to achieve it. It has been fantastic the entire way through. I always tell people if you find something you love, you will never work a day in your life. For the past 9 years I have been self employed and I can really only describe it as being on “spring break” for the entire time! Don’t fear the pain, nor expect it. Go with the flow!
“Life isn’t fair”
How many times have we said that in response to the “But Mom….that’s….not FAIR!” It’s true, not everything in life is fair and we need to be conditioned to deal with disappointments, but there is justice in the world. It is sort of a noncommittal answer that can make a kid feel absolutely hopeless! Life not being fair is definitely situational and a lot of times I have told my daughter instead that what she is upset about is the exact meaning of the word fair! Many times she will want to listen to her “favorite songs” in the car, but as soon as my wife or I turn on one song that we like “DAD! THAT ISN’T FAIR”. That gives me a great opportunity to explain to her that not only is it fair, but it is something she has to learn to be able to handle respectfully using her problem solving skills. She has started to bargain a little more lately. “After your songs can I listen to mine?”. Life is not always fair, but we can always work with the situations to make it a little more pleasant.
“A messy room is a messy mind”
Again, good intention behind this. Clutter can really stress a person out. Also, this is a great one to add to the rules of keeping a room clean. However, a messy mind isn’t always that bad! When I was a child my parents saw clutter with paths leading to more clutter, stacks of toys upon mountains of comics. To them, it was the exterior, but to me, this was my world. This was the one spot I had control of, and it was so important to me to have my army men, hanging off the edge of “comic book mountain”. It was having this little area where I could be totally creative and escape from reality for a little bit. To a child clutter isn’t as cut and dry as it is to adults. You don’t want to encourage obsessive cleaning any more than you do a room that looks like a storage unit. I like to lax on cleaning a little more than my wife does, but I think a healthy medium for kids is have one or two days a week where they are to clean their room and their toys, have them put away and the other days to leave them where they stand, to resume “battlefield comic book” in the morning.
“The grass is always greener on the other side”
This is a simple way of saying to be appreciative of what you have, because things always look better from afar. A lot of times this is true, we long for something else, only to realize we were happier where we started. But we can’t feel guilty for wanting more from life, and following our gut to make the next leap. Don’t settle, always follow your heart and you will realize that you can’t ever be disappointed in that.
“Don’t burn your bridges”
In business this has effected me in many ways and I realized it really kept me from making decisions that I should have made earlier. It is important to keep relationships with friends, and people that deserve them, but clinging to people that are negative just to use them as a resource later isn’t really helpful to anyone. It can be scary to be the person willing to follow their own heart, and not worrying what other people may think, but there is only one life we are living and how important it is to make sure that we are happy with the choices we make and how they effect other people, not allowing those people to make those choices for us. Weigh how it will effect others, but ultimately the choice is yours, and sometimes it is just as well to burn the bridge.
“Money doesn’t grow on trees”
Well in the purest sense of it, it does. This is a well meaning statement to encourage people to be wise about how they spend their money. However, money is meant to be spent. There is a big difference between saving and planning for how your money is being spent and having another negative connotation associated with things you could be indulging yourself with. Don’t be scared to go out to dinner, or buy that new bicycle. It is just important to treasure yourself, as it is to plan for the future.
“Life is hard”
Another saying I have said when my daughter has whined “But Daaaaad, this is HARD”. “Of course it is, life is hard!” In retrospect I think, “how dare I put such weight on this child’s shoulders?” Struggling is a natural part of our human existence, but it is not all there is to it. Life is also easy, and beautiful and fun! It is not all doom and gloom. We don’t have to suffer through life. Our actions and reactions are what make our mindset about our current situations, so maybe we need to “burn a bridge”, or see if perhaps the grass really is greener on the other side.
“There are starving kids in the world, so eat your dinner.”
Almost all of our parents have said this one to us, and it amazing how many of the same people who used to roll their eyes at this statement, are now the ones saying it! See how these sayings really stick! It’s important to not be wasteful, especially when others would be appreciative for the scraps that we throw away. But we don’t have to over eat, finish our plates, or feel horrible for having what we have. It is our lot in life to have a plate of food and we ought to appreciate it, but not to the point of feeling guilty about not wanting to eat those “gross bussle spouts”. As my wife used to say to her parents, “box it up and send it away then”.
“Patience is a virtue”
This is one of my favorites. It expresses that good things come to those who wait. Many times it really is worth the wait it out to really reap the rewards. But sometimes good things come to those who deserve them. Good things come to those who don’t wait. Don’t ever impose a limit on your good things. Indulge yourself in a “good thing” today!!!!
“Pay your dues”
In my industry this has always been a big statement. You have to pay your dues before you reap the benefits of success. It does take effort to get results, that’s true for anything. But if you work hard enough there is no time limit to be able to accomplish your goals. Don’t feel guilty for your own success! Some people have to work harder than others, and it is unfair to compare yourself to anyone else. Work hard, but also enjoy what you have.
“Opportunity only knocks once”
No it doesn’t. Just don’t be afraid to take it when it comes. Don’t be afraid to ignore it if it isn’t right. You are the master of your own world, and don’t let decision making panic you. Weigh out your benefits and decide with a clean head and a full heart.
Last, but not least. A saying that I won’t dissect.
“There are no good-byes, where ever we are, you’ll always be in my heart.”
Hopefully you have a little more fun with your sayings and a little more awareness that your words have levity on those little ones.
Have you ever said any of these?
Don’t let yourselves be conditioned by the sayings and beliefs of the past. You know whats right for you. Live your life!
Husband, Father, and all around workhorse, this dad can be counted on to add a stark, humorous and occasionally sarcastic opinion to almost anything. Read more from Modern Day Dads on their blog.
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