Things your parents did or said to you that really stuck

What do you remember your parents saying or doing or teaching you that shapes you even now? Some thing you do or thing you think? Maybe it sticks out in your mind even though they wouldn’t remember, or maybe they worked hard to beat it into your clueless little kid head.

My mom impressed on me that the worst thing is lying. (She also accidentally impressed on me that littering, even on accident, is very very bad and is a kind of lying by physical action. As in, if you drop a gum wrapper, you have to pick it up. If it fell somewhere you can’t reach easily, you should go to great lengths to get it anyway.)

My dad showed me that bugs and spiders and and snakes crawly critters are really interesting and not gross-out or creepy at all. He brought me interesting critters to hold and gaze at and talk about.

How 'bout you?

“Everybody spends their money differently”

There’s a trailer park that we drive by from time to time and I once asked my parents why these people have trailers, when parked right out side the trailers are Corvettes, Saabs, Volvos etc. She explained to me that perhaps they live in a trailer so that they can afford a nice car. She then went on to point out that some good friends of ours go on nice vacations three or four times a year (where most people do it once a year), BUT they almost never go out to eat at restaurants. That’s always stuck with me. To this day, when people ask me why I’m a stickler for keeping the heat down, turning off lights around the house, buying the generic Tylenol, but then I go and buy a plasma TV and a thousand dollar tuner, I explain to them that because I save money in those areas I can afford to spend it on other stuff.

“Don’t marry her.”

Best advice I ever received from my mom.

“If she hasn’t cheated on you yet, she’s getting ready to.” Next time I’ll listen.

“If he’ll cheat with you, he’ll cheat on you.”

I’ve seen that happen plenty of times in college. On more then one occasion I’ve said “Dude, you were the other guy, are you really surprised that she’s cheating on you now?”

As much as I hope “my” she cheats on new guy and leaves him, I’m secretly hoping that after a 10 year relationship he walks in one day and says “Sorry, not working, have a nice life” and then moves in with his new girlfriend.

From my dear Dad, off the top of my head:

The secret to happiness is to appreciate what you have.

Never lend your books, umbrellas, or your wife. They never come back…

You must love your wife more than yourself.

Never argue with a drunk.

Cheap tools and tires are too expensive to use.

Friendship is the greatest treasure in the world. It can take a lifetime to build, and can be lost with a word.

A leader/officer must place the welfare of his men before his own.

If you must borrow something, return it cleaner / fuller / better than when you got it.

If you’re not 5 minutes early, you’re late.

If someone is unhappy, it’s a problem with either love, health, or money.

When I was a little kid and my parents thought I was responsible enough to stay home alone for a while, the mantra was “Nothing high, nothing hot and nothing sharp”.

My Daddy—
Do what you want, but learn a trade to fall back on.
Someone who smiles all the time is most likely mentally ill.
You can’t argue with a crazy person or a drunk.
A “fine automobile” is a wonderful thing.
My Mama—
You can fall in love with a wealthy man as easy as you can a poor man.
Men come and go, but your real friends are your friends forever.
My advice to my girls------
Life is too short to drink cheap wine, and don’t go out with guys who have cheap shoes, cheap cars, and cheap watches. (ya–I know I’m shallow-------:eek::cool:)
What can I say–my kids have respectable careers and are married to very successful professional men. :smiley:

My mom told me this as an adult, but it really stuck with me. Somehow the conversation got around to how she had raised us, and she said that she was hard on us when we were kids because life was hard, and she wanted us to be able to deal with it. She doesn’t say “I love you” much, but if that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.

Some other things my parents taught me that I’ve never forgotten - look after where you live, and pay the rent first. You can live on ramen noodles for the rest of the month if you have to, but the rent gets paid.

Another one, from my dad. “Walk in like you own the place, and no one will ask questions” (Similar to something else I’ve heard from another source, “People will believe anything if you say it with enough conviction”)

An example of this was back in college. There was fliers up for an art fair at my school. My friend noticed that one of her pieces was on the poster. She wanted one of the posters for herself. She asked me to look around the corner and see if anyone was coming, my response was “If I’m looking around the corner, and you’re checking over your shoulder and stuffing the poster in your backpack, and someone sees you, you’ll get in trouble, but, if you casually walk up to the poster, nicely remove the thumbtacks, roll up the poster and walk away…like it was something you were allowed/supposed to do, no one will even bat an eye” and it worked just fine.

Walking in like you own the place is how my dad got a lot of his business over the years. We sell produce to a lot of restaurants in the area. Calling and trying to talk to someone in charge is tough, milling around by the kitchen door makes people suspicious, but heading into the kitchen like you’ve done it a hundred times before, stopping the first person you see and saying “Hi there, where’s the big boss man (or using his name, since my dad tends to know, or at least know of most of the restaurant owners in the area)” will get you pointed in the direction of the office nearly every single time.

Couple from Dad that have served me well:

“Don’t play pool for money, you’re not good enough.”
“Always make sure the rent’s paid before going to the pub.”

Ground the mower spark plug with your foot.

Get your feet off the coffee table.

Always make sure you read and understand every contract. If there is a part you do not understand, ask about it; do not ask the person who’s handing you the contract unless you know you can trust him.

A bet is a contract. When setting a bet up, be as careful with your words as if they were going on your mortgage.

Always choose your words carefully. Be as exact as you possibly can.

These were all from Dad.

‘An unkind word can never be taken back,’ said by my mum. I’ve certainly learned to hold my tongue a lot better over the years thanks to her good advice.

Many times my father told me, “Don’t buy your meat where you get you potatoes.”

I still don’t know what the hell he was talking about.

Three from my dad, at different times:

  1. The key to any story, any work of fiction, is conflict.

  2. The thing about a Tank is: anything that flies can kill it.

  3. Hearing protection is serious business.

(The last one hasn’t been in words so much as directly observable effects. That’s if you don’t count lots of “What was that?” and "Huh?"s as words.)

I’ve heard similar turns of phrase being used as a way of saying “Don’t date, hook up with, or get romantically involved with your co-workers”, FWIW.

Advice from my Dad: “Be nice to everyone you meet on the way up. You may need their help if you find yourself on the way down.”

From my mom I learned to be myself, and to stick to my principles. From my dad I learned a love of music, and to like whatever I like and enjoy it regardless of whether anybody else likes it or not.

One thing my dad said: “I regret more the things I passed up, than the things I screwed up.”

edited to add: I also learned from my maternal grandfather that the best way to be kindly remembered is to be compassionate and helpful to people in need.