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Parental Proverbs

Many of us would like to forget our childhood. But try as we might, some things stick. In this category, are parental proverbs. You know, those sayings, quips, attitudes, and responses from our parents that tend to niggle into our disposition. So just when you think you’re not like your father, he comes falling out of your mouth.

Anyway, Chris is currently taking a course to receive his teaching credentials. One of his assignments was to write down three sayings from his upbringing, three parental proverbs that have influenced him, positively or negatively. This piqued my interest, not just because I’m one of the parents he was quoting, but because as I get older mature, the kind of imprint I’m leaving has become increasingly important to me. What am I leaving my children with, philosophically speaking. Further compounding my interest was this: when our kids were young, I used certain sayings repeatedly, believing they were teaching tools. So what did my twenty-something, math-Mastered, boy remember?

These were the three parental proverbs Chris noted:

  • YOUR HEART IS LIKE A DONUT — A blatant rip-off from the Donut Man, a Children’s CD. Translation: Your heart has a big hole in the middle that only God can fill. Cars and friends and money and possessions — nothing! — can fill the vacanacy in your soul apart from a relationship with your Maker.
  • WHEREVER YOU GO, THERE YOU ARE — A cheesy, cultural cliche with ancient roots. Translation: We can never transcend ourselves. Moving from house to house, job to job, church to church, or state to state, will not solve your problems, bucko.
  • LIFE IS NOT FAIR — A simple maxim that modern man sorely needs. True justice will not be had till the end of the age, when the Judge of all the earth does His thing. Until then, bad men win, good men suffer, and the undeserving get what they don’t deserve. Deal with it!

So what parental proverbs do you remember from your childhood, and are they good or bad? And what quips have you employed as teaching tools for your children?

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Heather February 13, 2009, 11:53 AM

    Ah, yes, the Donut Man. I remember seeing him live in elementary school–a very special day.

  • Kaci February 13, 2009, 1:13 PM

    A few from my dad, drilled into me by age six (and now quoted by me to other people):

    -Can’t never could.
    -If nothing changes, nothing changes.
    -Whose are you? Who do you belong to?
    -Act like you know what you’re doing; people will assume you do.
    -You’re better off telling me now, not trying to hide it, put it off, or lie about it. (Not an official one, but a general principle I later put words to.)

    From Mom:
    -What you tolerate, your children will embrace.
    -Attitude is everything.
    -Boredom is a state of mind, a short interim before deciding what to do next. (Again, more general principle, but a general motto around our house.)
    -Be where you are.

    And, my personal mantra from James: “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, that you may live long life on the earth.”

  • Melody February 15, 2009, 11:09 PM

    I would agree with the first two as Chris but my third would definitely have something to do with discipline.

    It would be something like, getting a lecture not just getting spanked. I remember asking to just get spanked so I could get out of the lecture part of it. The times when Dad sent me to my room for getting in trouble, then waiting for a spanking and Dad coming in with his Bible. I remember crying and yelling “would you just spank me, why do I have to get a stupid lecture”, looking back I guess those lectures were good even though they had to continue on into the teenage years. I guess they finally got through though. Thanks Dad, your stupid lectures paid off.

  • Michael Ehret February 16, 2009, 7:05 AM

    “Choices have consequences.”

  • Mike Duran February 16, 2009, 11:28 AM

    Melody, if my “lectures paid off” then they weren’t “stupid.”

  • Ame March 13, 2009, 11:59 PM

    i would have to think for a good while to see if i remember anything proverb-ic my parents ever said to me.

    however, i often tell my girls when they whine that some new thing is not fair, “life is not fair or equal; add it to the list.”

    when they got past the early preschool years, my Youngest spat back at me, “i don’t wanna add it to the list!”

    now as i’ve got one tweenager and another who demands to imitate sister, i get the rolling eyes and the, “mo-om!”

  • Ame March 14, 2009, 12:00 AM

    btw – for Theo (and the rest of you)


    he’s been a BIG hit in our home, too 🙂

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