parenting

4 things your mother told you that actually aren't true

Some things your mom said are just plain wrong.

4 things your mother told you that actually aren't true

Some things your mom said are just plain wrong.
  • It's been decades, but I can still close my eyes and hear my mother saying, "If a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing well."

  • If I keep my eyes closed, more of those sayings come to mind, bits of advice that were repeated over and over during my growing up years. I can see my mother's face and I can hear her voice clearly in my mind.

  • Now, with all due respect to mothers everywhere, and with a certainty that they were giving us what they thought was good advice, let us just say that some of these tried and true sayings are just are not always true.

  • Though they are well-known clichés, they aren't the best way to approach today's world:

  • 1. "If a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing well"

  • Not always. In fact, there are a lot of things that need to be done but aren't worth killing ourselves over. Things that are done better if done with a short cut, like cleaning. Does your house have to be totally spotless every minute of every day? Does every little routine task at the office have to be done perfectly? If old friends are coming over, do you have to feed them a gourmet meal? Do you have to get your car detailed and perfectly clean every time it gets a bit dirty? There are situations where going above and beyond is asking too much.

  • How about a little balance and the ability to differentiate the important from the urgent? Revising the saying just a little means we can help put our lives in perspective: "If a thing is just barely worth doing, then just barely do it."

  • 2. "Never put off till tomorrow, that which you can do today"

  • Actually, deliberate, selective procrastination is a necessary skill. Every day, there are things we planned to do that get replaced by more important things. Being good at deciding what you can put off and what you can't is a real attribute. You may have planned to go to the store to pick up eggs, but then the afternoon turned windy and your child begs you to fly a kite with him. You still could go to the store today, but you decide the kite and your son are more important, so you reschedule the errand for tomorrow.

  • Every time we make a list of our "to dos" there will be things to push to tomorrow. That's OK. Do you really want your life measured by whether or not you crossed every single thing off your list each day? Relationships, moments with loved ones and spontaneous adventures are all reasons to reschedule your schedule. Perhaps a better saying would be "Always put off a put-off-able task in favor of a now-or-never."

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  • 3. "Some things are better left unsaid"

  • There is certainly some truth to this one but there is still a communication problem. Way too much goes unsaid these days. Way too many feelings get bottled up and way too many marriage simply end because too much was left unsaid. Of course there is a right way and a right time to say things, and "biting your tongue" now and then is a good thing, but in real and valued relationships, we need to find a way to say more, not less.

  • An updated version to keep in mind might be, "Unexpressed feelings never die, they just get buried and come forth later in uglier forms."

  • 4. "Don't just sit there, do something!"

  • Of course, our moms wanted us to be active and not to not waste time, but today, we live in a world where there is too much action and not enough quiet stillness. Perhaps we value action too highly and meditation and peace not highly enough. In this fast paced and competitive time we live in, there's a need for a saying to give us some stillness.

  • "Don't just do something, sit there"-sit there and think, sit there and meditate, sit there and plan, sit there and ask yourself the question "what really matters?" is more appropriate in today's world.

  • So moms, you who raised us, you who advised us, you who loved us-we love you, and we respect you and value all that you taught us ... but on just a few of the old sayings, we beg to differ, at least a little bit. We craft our own new clichés to fit the needs and challenges we face now. We hope that you, wherever you are, are OK with that.

Richard and Linda Eyre are New York Times #1 Bestselling Authors and founders of JoySchools.com who speak worldwide on marriage and parenting issues. Their new books are The Turning, and Life in Full.

Website: http://www.valuesparenting.com

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