Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lessons from the Parents

There isn't a day that goes by that I do not miss my parents. Sometimes, I feel like they passed away all too soon and I wished they had lived until I was old and gray. I am always reminded of some lesson or something wise I learned from them. I catch myself wondering what they would say or do in any given situation. Although quite simple and timeless, this is some of the best advice I have ever been given:

**1**  Put it Back Where You Found It:  My dad was a stickler for putting things back where they belonged. You save a lot of time if you don't have to go searching for something.

**2**  Save your Raises:  You can always make a withdrawal from your savings account if you need to, but once that extra money ends up in your checkbook it will probably get spent on something unimportant and then it's too late.

**3** You Might as Well Do it Today: My mom was a big fan of the 'Do it Now' philosophy. She did not put off today's work until tomorrow and rarely did things pile up around her ears. She would tell me a project might take a half hour today, but wait until tomorrow and it is going to take an hour simply because of the powers of accumulation.

**4** Buy Your Groceries First:   For some reason, this was the most memorable piece of advice I remember my dad telling me. 'You can solve more problems on a full stomach.'  As a college student trying to make ends meet trying hard to make good grades and make it all on my own, I took this one to heart. No, it wasn't always steak but I ate and stayed healthy.

**5** Your Word is Your Bond: This is what my mom said whenever she was discussing my dad's best trait. 'If you never do what you say, no one will ever trust you.' I've used this advice at every job. Telling my supervisor or client I would do something was as good as having it done. I can say this is the smartest thing I've ever done, not only at work but also with my family and friends. No matter how high-tech this world gets, being trustworthy is the ultimate skill to gain.

**6** Don't let Sentiment get in the Way of your Finances: We had a family friend who was offered quite a tidy sum to sell the family farm. The friend refused because this property had been in her family for many generations. 'I'll starve,' she said  'before I ever sell this farm.'  And she almost did. That piece of property cost a fortune to maintain and it was money she really didn't have, so it fell into awful disrepair. My parents advised me to never be that sentimental.  Don't hurt your future self because of your attachment to an inanimate object.

**7** Work Really Hard When you are Young:  Do this when you are young and have the energy. You are not going to feel like doing it later.

**8** If You are Going to Do Something, then Do it Right: My mom was constantly busy. She did not do anything by 'half.'  If she were working on an art project, then you could pretty much guarantee the work was as neat as possible. People often thought her quilts were machine stitched rather than handmade. Each stitch was painstakingly done precisely and identical to the one before it. I once commented on the neatness and how it was taking forever for her to hand stitch this one particular quilt. 'What is the point of doing it at all if it's going to be sloppy? Where is the pride in that?' Smart lady.

We have all acquired advice from loved ones and mentors that we use in our day to day lives. What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

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