These aren’t like a top ten list of things but rather random things I just remember learning. I either learned these things by watching the example of family members or by hearing them taught in our home.
1. God exists and He loves people. Why do bad things happen? I don’t know. But I /do/ know God /does/ exist and that He loves the people He created. He is everywhere I go, hears everything I say or don’t say and sees everything I do. You can pervert and twist that any way you’d like but it won’t change my mind about this being a good thing. I learned this from my mom and dad and my mom’s parents.
2. We are people of the land. The land is a part of us and we are a part of it. We can’t get away from it. It’s in our blood. When we are apart from it, we pine for it. Home is truly home and a safe haven. It’s not something to run away from or a trap. Rather the traps are set all around us and avoiding them can be a bit tricky. This is a good thing, too, because it keeps me on my toes. Some might call that paranoid. I guess they are as entitled to an opinion as any other person. I learned this from my dad and his mom and dad and brother.
3. We make do with what we have. We choose to be content. We don’t go begging for handouts because we want what everyone else has. We may not have the newest, coolest gizmos and gadgets. We may not have the most outstanding house on the highway. But we have an adequate domicile in which we can live a life that is abundant with the things that count the most-the joy of family living. This is not to say we don’t work hard which brings me to my next item. I learned this from both my parents and both my sets of grandparents.
4. Hard work never hurt anyone. Slave labor has. But hard work, willingly done, never hurt anyone. In fact, my grandfather (my dad’s dad) was one heck of a workhorse. As a farmer, he worked from the time he walked out the door after breakfast until sunset or after. Many are the times I remember bringing a sandwich lunch out to my dad, his brother and my grandpa as they worked the fields. Many were the nights we didn’t see them come home until well after dark, which in summer can be 9 p.m. Another familiar saying that goes along with this is “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” Yeah, you can laugh at that one if you want to. I notice the number of obesity cases is climbing… I learned this from my parents and grandparents.
5. Life isn’t usually fair. Every now and again, you’ll get this really awesome fairness that happens when you least expect it. Cherish it. You might not get another chance. I learned that from my mother.
6. There will always be a few regrets. Learn from them. Move on. Living life with a bunch of regrets weighing you down is no fun at all. Of course, you may look at all these ‘Life Lessons of Mel’ and think I have no fun at all anyway. Stick around. You might be surprised.
7. Being yourself is really, really hard. I learned this from some extended family on my dad’s side. Anytime I tried to be myself, I was wrong. I think they might have been trying to ‘help’ me ‘fit in’ but when ‘fitting in’ wasn’t necessarily going to happen anyway, all that did was make things worse. Still I am more firm in my belief that being myself is by far the better thing to be. It’s worth all the ridicule, teasing, bullying, mockery, etc. Trust me. No need to be bitter, though. Let that part of learning the lesson go and revel in the breath of fresh air that it is to be YOU.
8. Marriage. Ah! What an interesting thing it has become these days. Do any marriages last anymore? Do people even go into marriage with the idea, no, conviction that this is a lifetime deal? I did. And I learned that from my parents and grandparents. ‘Well, I’m just not happy.’ Or ‘We just don’t get along.’ (sigh) Try looking at things from your partner’s perspective. I remember my mom saying, “It takes two to tango.” It means there are two sides to every story and taking the time to hear both sides is usually worth it. Just because the grass might /look/ greener on the other side, doesn’t mean it really is. Consider that you might be seeing only part of the picture of that green good-looking grass. My mom talked to me before I got married and right after I got engaged. She said this, “Don’t ask yourself whether you can live with him but rather ask yourself whether you can live without him.” I knew. I was convinced my husband was the man for me. And we are still together. Through sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, until death parts us? Yeah, I meant every word I boldly spoke that day before God and my family and friends. I made a VOW. I’m holding to it.
9. Never break a promise. If you do break a promise, you better have an awfully good reason for doing so. I learned that from my mom.
10. Life is short. Live it well. Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Self-control. Do you see anything bad in this list? People who live by this list are few and far between. Some of you will recognize it. You should, and probably are, thanking God for the person who taught it to you. So far as I know, it is still not against any law to use any of these actions. I do not always measure up to this list. It’s a tough one. But it’s worth my time and effort, especially if it means someone gets a bit of help along the way. I learned this from my mom her parents.
This concludes my random list of ten things I learned from my family. Maybe I’ll share some more things later. I have 35 years of experiences to draw from. Maybe next time, I’ll share ten things I learned from going to school or maybe from church social life. I really do hope this list will help someone. It helps me to write things down. This way, I’m less likely to forget. Thanks for taking time to read it. Feel free to share your thoughts but please be courteous. Also keep in mind that these are my perceptions of the lessons taught in my home. They are my firm beliefs. I do my best to respect the beliefs of others and I expect the same respect in return. Thanks!