March 9, 2014

Advice My Parents Gave that Stuck like Glue


Well, as you can see I’ve already missed a day on my own Post a Day Challenge. I got busy the past two days and didn’t plan ahead and so I will post two items today.

When I think about this topic it’s very easy for me to come up with “Advice my Dad gave that Stuck” because he was the type of dad that made sure his children did things the way he thought it should be done. Kind of the “Father knows Best” theory. This attitude usually pissed off my older brother, myself, and my younger sisters but now as an adult I have learned to appreciate and understand why my dad gave the advice he did.

Things that come to me instantly can start back as a little kid at the McDonald’s telling my dad, “They didn’t give me sweet and sour sauce”. My dad’s answer to this, “Well, go up to the counter and ask for it.” As vibrant as I was around family, I was an overly shy person around strangers and the thought of approaching anyone scared the daylights out of me.

Another instance was as I became a teenager my dad would tell us we could have a Pizza night. Awesome, what teenager doesn’t love Pizza! Here comes the catch though, “If you want the pizza you need to call in and place the order yourself.” UGHHHHHH. Even as a teenager I hated making phone calls because I always had a feeling I would do it wrong or not know an answer if they asked. Finally after much frustration my dad said something that I still think of, “They aren’t going to turn you away, you are offering money to their business.” What are they going to say, “You can’t have the pizza”? Kind of funny if you think about it… No they aren’t going to say I can’t have the pizza. So, I learned If you want it, Ask. If you don’t ask… then no sweet and sour sauce or pizza.

Another piece that stuck was:

If you live in this house then you will work over the summer. Starting at 15 I had a job and there was no question about it. I respect my dad for not giving us the option because working at a young age taught me time management, structure, money management, how to deal with co-workers and bosses, responsibility… the list could go on. After I got my first job my dad took me to the bank to open my first checking and savings account. We were in charge of writing out our deposit slips, going up to the teller’s desk, and had to learn a basic skill of controlling our money.
This was great advice because I know how prepared I was once I went to college. I was much more confident in applying for jobs because I had already done it for four years. It is a skill that I believe many parents take away from their children because their “Kids will work the rest of their lives and they want them to enjoy being kids”. I had a great time in high school, it made me proud to hold a job on the weekends and in the summer. I also learned that I didn’t want to cashier, work in a restaurant, have hours that were always changing, and do something I hated just for money… this taught me that having a college education was a way to NOT make minimum wage the rest of my life. Think of that as motivation for your children to seek education in the future.

My last piece of advice from my dad that has made me the person I am stems back to high school when I started really excelling in sports. I remember ranting about “How great I did in a game” and “How coach said he was going to start giving me more field time” and “How great I was compared to others”. My dad stopped me and gave me the best piece of advice I could’ve ever asked for in that moment.
“Brittany, don’t brag about yourself, it doesn’t mean anything unless others speak to your accomplishments.”

He wanted his children to excel in all things that we reached for but he sure as heck wasn’t going to have a bunch of brat kids running around talking about how great they were. It was a very humbling moment in my life and even now it strikes a chord in everything I do.

Thanks, Dad.

Now I can’t leave mom out of this. She has a completely different way of giving advice. Where my dad is the type to tell you up front what is on his mind my mom is the type that is able to give advice with out you knowing your being given any. I think that’s why sometimes it’s harder for me to think any specific advice my mom has given because it’s not direct. It doesn’t mean that her advice is lesser than my dad’s advice, it’s just delivered in a very different way.

My mom’s greatest gift that she has given her children is the gift of “Listening”. As children, then as pre-adults, and now even as adults my siblings and I have always gone to mom for a listening ear. Usually at night, whether it was after being out with friends or getting home from work, we always managed to go into her room, lay in the bed next to her, and just talk. It could be 11pm at night and she would be up, waiting for us to get in, she would never turn us away from having conversation.

We have always gone to her for advice about … everything … because she never judged us. She may have disagreed but she never pushed us away. She has a gift of being able to talk to each one of us, with all 4 different personalities, and give us what we needed to hear. That doesn’t mean that she always agreed and went along with what we wanted to her say, it just means that she was able to give us her stance on it with out pissing us off. That’s the difference between mom and dad. “Dad knew Best and held firm on his thoughts about what was best” but “Mom knew how to talk to us in a way that we didn’t even know we were changing our minds to go with her point of view”. She is a smart woman and knew how to be the buffer.

A few years ago my dad learned to text message and I had asked my mom why she hadn’t learned and she told me:

“I see a lot of my friends who text with their children and they have lost communication. My children aren’t allowed to only talk to me through text because I enjoy talking and them wanting to talk to me.”

I call home often and have kept the texting in my life to a minimum because my mom is absolutely right. We are losing connections that we can not gain in texting, tweeting, face booking, or even here with blogging. I hold all of my close relationships on this piece of advice from my mom… Call people. Hold a conversation. Listen to what they have to say. And give advice only when needed.
So there you have it. Thanks to both of them for the good advice that has shaped all four of their children into pretty freaking awesome people.

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