When I was about 5 or 6 I encountered my first person with special needs. I asked my dad about it because kids on the bus said some pretty mean things to the boy. My dad told me that every person I would ever meet in my life would know something I didn't, it was my job in life to learn something from each and every person I met. To prove his point he asked me if I knew the boys name. I did not. Dad simply said "He does, ask him". So the next day on the bus I did ask him. And as I talked to him I found out that if you told him a date in any year in history he could tell you what day of the week it fell on. It became the game everyone on the bus played with him instead of picking on him.
My dad is full of words of wisdom. He said things like "anything one human has done another human can do". This one came out when I was struggling to acomplish some difficult task and I was frustrated. He woulod never step in and do it for me, he just reminded me someone else had managed it and so would I. I can't tell you how much this built my self confidence and self worth. He also said "be nice, it doesn't cost any extra". I love that one I have shared it with my kids. Speaking of kids when I had my first one, his first grandchild he told me "never ask them what they want to eat. By the time I had 4 under the age of 6 I understood how wise that advice was.
I can't think of any advice my birth mother gave me, I'm not sure if she never did or if I just never listened to her. Either one is possible. She left us when I was 5 and was completely out of my life from 10 to almost 30 and passed away when I was 44. To say we weren't close is an understatement. But I can say this, there is no one on earth that effected the way I parented more than she did, as in if she did it, it had to be the wrong choice so I did the opposite. I have 4 adult children who I like and they like me so I think my choices worked out. Hers not so much. She had 5 children and none of them had much to do with her as adults. She lived out her days completely alone.
My Step mother on the other hand was full of good advice and wise words. She taught me so much I can't begin to share all of it but I will share one of her best ones ever. "Never miss an opportunity to empty your bladder!"
Her parents both passed when I was young, grampa when I was 5 and grandma when I was 9. My grandfather had a grade school education and he married two teachers. He used to say a fancy education is a waste, Unless you want to be a dr or something all you need to learn is how to read, once you know that you can teach yourself anything you ever want to know. And he lived by that. He was poorly educated but very well read. I have embraced that and passed it on to my kids. Of course we all get educated past elementary school now but I try to stay curious if I am interested in something I learn as much as I can about it until I am satisfied. My kids are experts in some very interesting topics because they have done the same.
My mothers mother was a teacher a la "Little House on The Prarie". She tought by the term in one room schools mostly. Later in life she taught in some bigger schools with separate classes. She was constantly correcting grammar. You did not use lazy english in front of her. From her I developed a love of words and the sentences, paragraphs and books they make up. The last gift she gave me was the complete set of "Little House" books. I fell in love with reading and then later writing. I have much to thank her for.
My Dad's dad had a little saying for everything. If you asked him how he was he would tell you "I am just as fine as frog's hair, and twice as rare". He made light of frustrations with a limerick or a story. Instead of throwing the wrench he called the bolt a dirty pig. He taught me a lot about patience and good humor. I will forever be greatful. He also never wasted anything. He lived in the absolute midldle of nowhere. There was no popping into a shop for a little thing. You kept what you might use later and fixed what you had. I am always inclined to try to solve a problem without throwing money at it.
My Dad's mother was more about advice I didn't take. She said things like "Heather you can always marry for love the second time". My husband and I have never been wealthy but we have been in love for 31 years. She was also a bit of a racist and I ignored everything she ever told me about people with a diffenent color skin. But she wasn't all negative. She was a hard worker and she had a soft spot for baby animals. I watched her nurse all kinds of critters back to health.
My own additions are just things I tell my kids. Like "Never eat anything that smells like death." and "Just smile and wave to everyone, it makes them wonder what you are up to"
Thank you for reading, What did your elders pass on to you? Let me know in the comments.
About the Creator
I am a 50 something year old mother of grown children with stage 4 breast cancer. I have been told I should write a book about my life. I am probably never going to do that, but I do want to record some of my stories, so here we go.