Things I Tell My Children

8 Feb

I read this lovely piece, 18 Simple Truths Nobody Told Us While Growing Up, earlier this week and I agreed with every single one. I want to print it and have the boys read it and then we can discuss it. They LOVE it when I do that.  I did think of a few of my own personal philosophies that I wanted to add, so I thought I would do that here.


The word “fair” should only be used when referring to a place to buy delicious funnel cakes –  Life is NOT fair. Go to a homeless shelter some morning and see all the children waiting for food and tell me how that is FAIR.  If you don’t like that example, visit a cancer ward, or any children’s hospital, and tell me how that is FAIR. It may certainly suck that you never got a turn on the slide after waiting there all day or that Tiffany Smith got to play the part of Little Red Riding Hood simply because her HAIR WAS RED, and all you got to play was a damn flower with a big shoddily painted cardboard circle on your head when it was pretty well known who the most dramatic girl in the third grade was…and it was NOT Tiffany Smith…AND SCENE.  All of those things stink, they suck, they make you want to dye your hair red which maybe you still do to this day, but FAIR shouldn’t enter into it buttercup. Such is life.

Karma is not something that immediately comes around…and may NEVER come around – Sometimes people treat you crappy and you will never see the people who did those things punished.   It doesn’t mean that what they did was okay. It means that all you can do is focus on your life and being the best person you can be. Thinking about them and their actions takes the focus off of you which is not good because you’re awesome.

My youngest son is fascinated with Asian culture. He always has been. I read a well known Zen story from one of his books about China that I think illustrates this point much better than I could so I’m going to paraphrase here. There were two monks who carried a woman across a river. When they reached the other side, the woman went on her way without thanking them. The younger of the two monks was pissed off (this is where the paraphrasing comes in) because the woman was ungrateful and he bitched about it for quite some time. The older monk said ‘BRO, what is your DEAL?’ and the younger monk told him that he was annoyed because they carried that woman across the water and she was not exactly light. The older monk told the younger monk that he had left the woman back at the bank, but that the younger monk was still burdened by her fat ass.  That woman may have gone on and accidentally walked off a cliff, or she may never have thought about those monks again ever in her life, BUT, helping her cross the water was the right thing to do, regardless of her actions afterwards.

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery – It pains me to write this one because I am admitting that my mother was right so many years ago when I was so upset that my quad color Converse were being worn by EVERYBODY when CLEARLY I had them first.  My mother was absolutely right. Take it as a compliment then go change your style if you want to be totally different. Just be prepared to be very Madonna-like in the sense that you will have to do it for the rest of your life, or you can be totally comfortable with yourself regardless of who is copying you. Madonna must be exhausted, though I think she has paused in ‘muscly armed senior citizen land’ for a while and that’s cool She’s earned that right.

You may not ever have your DREAM job, and that’s okay –  I had dreams when I was a kid. Several of them. When I was very young  I wanted to be a veterinarian,  drive a red pickup truck, and live on a farm . That changed when I realized that I more than likely would have to work on animals that I despised, and that when it became known that no snakes made it out of my practice alive, I would be run out of town in a scandal (I was a very imaginative kid). After that, I had pretty much the same dream for the rest of my life. I wanted to be a writer for Saturday Night Live.  I did nothing to further this dream except attend the show once in the 80’s and have my picture taken with a very short and very sparkly gold jacket wearing Dennis Miller, but the thing is, if I HAD pursued that dream, I more than likely would not have ended up in Gainesville, Florida when I did, and met the father of my children, and been able to fulfill another dream I had, to be a mom.

I don’t want to squash the hopes and dreams of my children, of course not. I HOPE they go after whatever they want with everything they have, but if it turns out that the MLB is much harder to get into than my 11 year old thinks, or my 8 year old does not actually become a black belt Tae Kwon Do instructor who does magic and special effects make up and instead they end up getting decent paying jobs and working with nice people,  that’s okay. That whole ‘do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ thing is kind of bullshit. I LOVE lots of things, but that doesn’t put food on the table, or red hair dye on my head.  It doesn’t mean your life is OVER if your dreams don’t come true. You can find things outside your job that you are passionate about, and you should.

Believe whatever you want to believe, but you cannot hurt someone because of those beliefs –  This one is fairly simple. If I want to believe that people named Paul are evil, that is my right, BUT, I am not allowed to hurt people named Paul because of my beliefs.

I think that is it for now. Mind you, I struggle with some of these things myself because people named Paul ARE evil. Obviously a joke.

2 Responses to “Things I Tell My Children”

  1. datinginvegas February 8, 2013 at 6:24 am #

    My mom told me “life’s not fair” all the time! She was right 🙂

  2. pattypetal February 8, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    Moms don’t always want to be “right”, at least I didn’t. I wanted life to be fair and good for everyone and as an optimist I still hold on to those thoughts while knowing that due to human nature they will never be true. At this point in my life I focus on trying to make things as fair as possible for as many peope as I personally can.

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