Growing up, my parents had different styles of teaching the operating rules of life to my sister and me. My mom took a more nuanced approach whereas my dad was more direct and straight forward about communicating the tenets he wanted us to absorb and make part of our way of operating in the world. I’ve come to live with what they taught in a similar way. My mom’s life lessons are just part of who I am. My dad’s exist in a different place and live in bold letters in my head. Here are a few of them…
- If you take your shoes off in the living room, tuck them under the coffee table so that other people don’t trip over them.
- Turn off the light when you leave the room (after one warning, we owed him $.25 a lamp)
- When taking the trash out, the job is not complete until the bag has been replaced.
- Clean up as you go while cooking.
- Do not leave trash around the house (particularly candy/gum wrappers), they will appear in your bed if they’re found outside an appropriate receptacle.
and, most importantly
- Life is lived within a series of communities. Always be aware of your impact on the community around you. This starts with your home community and extends in ripples out into the world. It is of particular importance when you’re driving. You must be aware of how your actions effect the people around you.
As I’ve approached the age at which I’m considering/planning on having kids myself, I am increasingly impressed with the way my parents raised me and I hope to do a similarly able. We shall see (thankfully, it’s not an issue at this time).
(As I was writing this list, I realized that I wrote something similar for Father’s Day a few years ago. I may be running out of ideas).