Brevity is not my strong suit. As I mentally search for the ONE WORD that means everything I’ve been trying to say for the past ten minutes, I end up blabbering my way to the point. It’s usually then that my husband sweeps in, sums up my ramblings with beautiful succinctness, and leaves me feeling all hot and bothered because 1. size does matter and I love me a big vocabulary and 2. WHY CAN’T I DO THAT?!
As a teacher, I’ve learned less is more. The average high school student’s attention span rivals that of a toddler’s, and if you’re teaching Shakespeare, that span is cut in half. In the classroom, I’ve got limited words and time to get my point across, so when I became a Mom, I was elated at the idea that these little people are trapped–they can’t get away from me! THEY HAVE TO LISTEN!
Adorable naivety, right?
That dream of mine took a violent nosedive almost immediately, salt in the wound every time my important life lessons are met with blank stares. I don’t have “bad” kids; I have normal kids with normal attention spans, it’s just that they have a long-winded mother who’s afraid of leaving out words for fear the lesson will be lost.
Much like teaching English, I’ve realized this parenting gig also boasts the less is more mantra. I have to get better at it, so I enlisted the help of 14,000 of my closest pals and asked them to share their or their parents’ best words of wisdom. Their most memorable nuggets of know-how! Their poetic pieces of parenting!
Okay, I’m done.
I lied, one more: CONCISE ADVICE! C’mon, that one’s perfect!!
Here are some of my favorites…
Combating Little Big Mouths:
Is it nice, is it necessary, is it true? –my husband (This is an appropriate one-stop-shop for shutty town.)
Just because it’s in your head doesn’t mean it needs to be said. –Heather L. (I love it when life lessons rhyme. Cliché me, baby!)
You have two ears and one mouth, so you should listen twice as much as you talk. –Michelle B.
Coping with Eating Woes:
This is let’s eat a meal, not let’s make a deal! –my Mother-in-Law
This isn’t the Have It Your Way Cafe. –Lisa P.
I bet it tastes better now than it will at breakfast time. –Liz F.
Make Good Decisions:
Better you cry now than I cry later. –my Mom
Never do anything you would be ashamed to tell your parents or pastor about. –Rhiannon S.’s grandmother
(It’s worth noting that her grandmother was a childhood polio survivor. Anyone who has been through that has words that should be heeded.)
You get to choose your behavior; I get to choose your consequence. –Adriane V.
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. –Monica M.
Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part. –Rita G. (Best for teenagers and their hormones. They’ll love it.)
Hands off, voices on. –Andrea A.
Zip it, lock it, put it in your pocket. –my 4yo’s preschool teacher
1, 2, 3, all eyes on me! –Kindergarten teachers everywhere
No One Likes a Whiner:
You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. –Alisa F. (and soooooo many others!)
Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. –Winston Churchill
Ya can’t always get what you want. –my husband and Mick Jagger
We do what we have to do so we can do what we want to do. –Kirsten B.
Should we call the Whaaaaaaaambulance?! –Corrie L. (Teehee!!)
God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt. –Mandy D.
Build a bridge and get over it. –April Z. (Sassy!)
Instilling an Attitude of Gratitude:
To whom much is given, much is expected. –Christine (Keeper of the Fruit Loops)
Be grateful for what you have and thankful for what you get. –Christy K.
Get what you’re given or go without.
Waste not, want not. –I cannot find who wrote these last two in our convo thread
We share what we’ve got. –Victoria M.
Now if I can just remember these in the heat of the moment…
Go forth, dispense our concise advice. I still love that one.
Can I come home with you?