My mother is a person who doesn’t say much. In fact, she’s quite introverted – like me. She’s also not very expressive. At least she never used to be, but that was before she had grandchildren. Now it’s hugs and kisses all around.
When I was younger, however, I would have to look at her face carefully to see if she was pleased about something, but if she wasn’t, it would be as clear as day.
People from my generation will be familiar with “the look” – the one from your mother that stopped you dead in your tracks when you were doing something wrong. Now, whether I narrow my eyes, or widen them, my kids don’t see danger – they just think something’s wrong with my contact lenses.
Anyway, there are a few things that my mother has said that have stuck with me after all these years. Some I have applied to my life and work, and some of them I can’t wait to use on my kids.
1. Don’t put all your cards on the table.
When I was younger, and even now, I suppose, most mothers are happiest when their daughters are married, or engaged to be married. In the interim, they saw it as their duty to keep their daughters as chaste as possible.
So, while most will be familiar with the cow and the free milk analogy, my mother, used one involving cards, although she never played bridge or solitaire in her life. But she was a businesswoman, so maybe she was concerned about the ‘art of the deal’.
2. Always pay a man (or woman) for the work done.
Years ago, in our small island community, where we all knew each other, people running businesses operated on the “don’t worry, I won’t charge you much” agreement.
It was because of this that she would tell me that it is important to a pay a person for the work done. Even if you think you were overcharged, don’t argue. Just know that it will be the last time that you will use those services. No hard feelings required. And no lawsuit either.
3. Avoid the police and the courts at all costs.
This is self explanatory, but the latter, particularly, she said wasted both time and money benefitting mostly the lawyers.
4. Don’t ask for favours.
Unless you’re sure the answer will be yes. Because nobody wants to be embarrassed – not the person asking or the one being asked.
5. You can give a child everything except a mind (of her own).
So no matter the gadgets and gizmos we give our children, and even the education that some are afforded; no matter how we try to influence them – at the end of the day, they make up their own minds. We just have to hope that they take the best from all the information they receive.
Thanks Mom. Bet you didn’t think I was listening.