Things your parents told you that stuck with you

We’ve all been there as children and teenagers with parents yammering at us to do stuff, to not do other stuff, sit up straight, eat your vegetables, take out the garbage, yadda yadda yadda. Most of the things my parents said I believe came straight out of their parents’ mouths the generation before. A lot of it just made me snicker inside (I didn’t dare laugh out loud, it was more than my life was worth to do that) because it made no sense.

But one or two things stuck as valid and useful. My favorite at the moment, as I think back, is this:

“You’re not a guest in this house.”

I like this because it reminded me that I was not entitled to be waited upon by people who were both working for a living and working hard around the house. I had to do my share, at least in cleaning up after myself and helping with a few chores. I wonder how many kids these days hear this kind of message.

So what gems from your parents do you remember fondly? And incidentally, how old are you (I’m 65)?

I like it. I’m going to try this out on my 14 and 8 year old boys.

What stuck with me (as an adult) was: “Better to give with a warm hand…” when I was faced with some financial hurdle that my parents helped me out with. Googling it now I see that it is not an uncommon saying, but at the time it was new to me, and touched me as a gentle way to diffuse my embarrassment at needing to accept such a gift. I suspect there was some comfort for themselves in that phrase as well.

I am 51.

Because 50,000 French men do it does not make it right.

There is no such thing as a fair fight.

Do what you say you are going to do.

And the list can go on & on.

I am 71

“A man will only do as much as you expect him to.”

Mom meant this in a sexist way but I think it applies to all people. Make your expectations clear and don’t get mad when people don’t go above and beyond.

Watch out for guys who drive with their hats on. (learning to drive back in 1975)

If you hold your cards where I can see them, I’m going to look.

You don’t always get things your own way.

If they wanted to keep it they would have put a better lock on it.
BTW I had terrible parents.

I am 62

Be home for supper.

I was probably 10 when my dad told me “There’s the Haves, and the Have-nots, and not much in the middle. And it’s going to get worse. Be one of the Haves.”

I’m 42.

My father told me (and I think he was paraphrasing someone else): Paying down your mortgage early is almost never the best investment you can make, but I’ve never known someone who couldn’t sleep at night because he owned his own house.

Or when building something: We’re not building a pipe organ (that is, a certain amount of sloppiness is acceptable). He was actually pretty proficient working with wood, so I’m not sure how much that really applies to me.

My mum told me repeatedly as a kid, “If it’s making a loud noise, you’re breaking it.”

I didn’t believe her then, and I don’t now. She just wanted us kids to stop slamming doors, etc.

“Life is too short to worry about ______.” Basically, don’t sweat the small stuff. Excellent advice from my mom that, fortunately, I took to heart.

One ‘aw shit’ is worth 10 ‘atta boys’. It was true when I was staying out late and drinking underage and it’s true 25 years later.

Buy quality shoes and mattresses. 2/3 of your life is spent on them.

Not necessarily my parents, but one I’ve found true anyway:

“Don’t mud wrestle with pigs. You’ll only get dirty and the pigs like it.”


I always liked what my granddad told me: “You can’t no more than have a hole in the ground and SOMEBODY will come along and try to steal it from you.”

“There are only two sure things in this life: death and taxes.”

And this one from my mom: “If a man ever hits you, leave and don’t look back. You’re worth more than that.”

I’m 36.

“When a string gets in a knot,
Patience can untie it.
Patience can do many things;
Have you ever tried it?”

~~My Old Man

I’m 60.

From my dad:

“Be good to yourself, you’re worth it.”

“Treat rude people with politeness. You’ll either wear them down into being polite in return, or drive them crazy. Either way, you win!”

“I’m against abortion. I’d never have one. But I won’t tell someone else what they have to do if they need to make that decision.”

I’m 56.

“If you are feeling seasick, eat a banana. They taste good going down, and they taste good coming up”

~~My Old Man