Words of wisdom: Parent-isms

When you think of your mother or father, what sayings come to mind?

For me, it’s my mother: “It’s a beautiful day. Get outside.”

I grew up on a farm, so outside for us meant playing games of hide-and-seek in and around the trees of the woodlot, swinging on homemade swings hung from the rafters of the barn, or skating on the frozen creek in winter. To this day, I can’t abide being indoors on a beautiful day, so my mother’s words served me well.

A person I follow on Twitter asked this question and got some interesting responses. My favourite: “If cows shit butter, you wouldn’t have to churn it.”

My mother would never have used those words, but she made the same point in other ways more times that I could count.

As parents we live day to day, tackling challenges as they come. We don’t realize there will be a through-line to our actions, that someday our children will attach an overall theme to how we tackled the parenthood job.

It made me wonder, how would my children answer that question, so I asked my daughter. I was hoping for, “Be kind,” or “Honour yourself and always be creative,” or “Don’t ever make yourself small to try please someone else.”

When I asked my daughter, she thought for a lo-o-o-ong time. “I don’t think you use sayings.”

“Oh, great. I’m boring,” I said.

“No, if anything it means that you really think before you say something,” she said.

I can live with that.

Woman in a chair contemplating a mountain view. A thought bubble says, "Think, think, think."

4 thoughts on “Words of wisdom: Parent-isms

  1. marianbeaman

    Good morning, Arlene. Since you read my book, you know I printed a list of my parents’ sayings, a mixture to German/English. I didn’t realize it at the time, but they had a rich, if not classy, vocabulary.

    You had a wise mother, bless her!

    Your daughter has paid you a wonderful compliment. Oh, that I would always remember to think before I speak. Great post!

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      I loved reading their charming sayings. That made life rich, for sure. I also loved the recipes that came with the book. I made rivels for the first time in my life. I’d never even heard of them before, and they were good fun.
      I was worried that my daughter would say that my saying was, “You’ll thank me when I’m dead!” because it feels like I say that often – but maybe I just think it?


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