Mind Professional Family
5 Basic Morals You Forgot Mom Taught You
by Olessia Kantor
A few days ago, my daughters had a play-date with a few of their friends. While the kids played, us mothers sat around, catching up and discussing current events. There was even a bit of gossip. While I certainly don’t condone talking about others, at these sorts of gatherings it does happen on occasion. I let it go, not giving it thought again until later on, when I went to check on the kids. There, I saw the girls sitting around a table of their own, gossiping about a mutual friend. One of my daughters decided to speak up, maybe because she sensed me in the doorway, but maybe because she felt what was going on was wrong.
“Mommy says that if you can’t say anything nice, you shouldn’t say anything at all.”
I decided to chime in and make my presence known. “That’s right girls. Now, you all know better than to gossip. You’re friends, and friends don’t do things that might hurt each other's’ feelings.”
“My sister and her friends always talk about each other,” one girl quipped.
While I sat there talking to these young girls, something became very clear to me. It became noticeable that there’s something about the lessons your parents teach you when you’re younger that escapes you as you grow up. We forget these rules until we impart them on our own children, but we’d do good to remember them. Here are some of the life lessons I remember being taught when I was younger, and how they apply today.
- “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” As my story mentioned, adults gossip more than they should. Aside from influencing impressionable younger people, gossip never leads to anywhere good. Keeping yourself off the grapevine can be beneficial, but it isn’t easy. You can take two approaches to avoiding gossip: when people bring it up, you can directly unwelcome the conversation, or you can take charge of it and redirect it to talking solely about people involved in your conversation.
- “The more, the merrier.” We teach our kids to be inclusive of others, but so often we aren’t inclusive. We think that in adulthood, people know how to be included in conversations and activities and figure that if they aren’t contributing, it’s voluntarily so. There are still shy people who struggle to break into social situations. There are still times where you want to say something, but can’t find the right time. Encourage people to join you when you invite others to do something if they’re the odd man out. If someone is quiet in a conversation but you know they would like to join in, ask them a direct question that allows them the opportunity to speak.
- “If at first you don’t succeed, try again.” As adults, the courage to try at all in the first place is so hard to muster up. Many fear how they’ll be perceived for doing something, or criticized for what they’ve chosen to do. If you have a bad experience your first time out the gates- whether it be in a job or a relationship, don’t give up without giving it another shot.
- “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Because the importance of first impressions is always stressed to adults, especially in business situations, we put too much into looks and images. We worry about the person we physically project on the world before we worry about the person we emotionally or spiritually project. As a result, our emotional, spiritual selves suffer, and often we don’t give people the opportunity to get to know them. There is more substance to each of us, more than what meets the eye.
- “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” We are a reactive society more than we are a reflective one. Instead of putting ourselves in another’s shoes, we just on the offensive, as all attacks feel personal. Like when you were a child, everything is not about you. The best you can do in some situations is to extend the kindness you hope someone might extend to you if you found yourself in such a situation.
Whether you consider these morals, rules, or thoughts to live by, these saying exist for a reason. We teach our children to behave this way because it is ideal, but as adults we fail to meet our own marks. Remember those little reminders your mom would give you on the playground the next time you find yourself in a situation where you know you could be better.