As I read through some of the FB comments on a news story the other day (yes, I know, I should never read the comments on a subject I care about) I almost responded to one of them with one of my mom’s Mom-isms (Two wrongs don’t make a right!) and in that moment I realized two things: 1. Mom’s Mom-isms have been subconsciously influencing me for the better part of four decades; and 2. She apparently was making a good point even if they were painfully annoying when I was a kid.
I have kids of the four-legged variety – a dog and a horse. Neither care about Mom’s Mom-isms but the more time I spend with them the more I realize they have life figured out way better than I do. Not having two-leggers running around the house has not stopped me from having an opinion on how some others have been raised. After some of the thoughtless, hurtful, and shameful crap I’ve seen posted by kids (if you're under 25 you’re a kid to me…don’t get snarky…it will happen to you too) and adults alike I think perhaps everyone should hear Mom’s Mom-isms:
Two wrongs don’t make a right…
I hated hearing this as a kid, it completely deflated the best excuse I had for fighting with my sister: “BUT SHE STARTED IT!” Two wrongs don’t make a right…it’s not an easy one to follow. Our go-to response when someone wrongs us is to “get back” at them. What if we put as much effort into getting along as we did into thinking up good comebacks or tearing people down who don’t fit into our world view? The truth is revenge in any form doesn’t change a behavior -- it doesn't actually fix anything. Sure, you may get a little gratification from hurting someone as they’ve hurt you but, well…two wrongs don’t make a right.
…but three rights make a left
OK, this second part is technically a funny-ha-ha statement that in recent years my mom has enjoyed adding to the previous Mom-ism. However, it does bring me to another important lesson. Mom taught me to always make a left turns onto busy road where there is a light to stop the traffic. (if possible). Usually there are several driveways leading to and from your typical mall or mega-store. Some of the drives have a light, others just a stop sign. Please, just go to the light! This is really good advice. Take a couple seconds to go down to the exit or the intersection with the light, avoid an accident, save a life, make mom happy!
You is plural!
This was usually preceded by me or my sister saying: “It wasn’t just me! She started it! She did it too!” or some other variation of the blame-game. You is plural is a reminder that you can mean me or it can mean me and my sister or it can mean all of you reading this or it can me that whole group of people over there watching you through the window (as in “Hey You! Stop watching me!). The takeaway? Calm down, not everything is about you (that is singular you in this case) or only you (still singular).
You can’t make blanket statements.
At first this may seem to go against the You is plural Mom-ism but it doesn’t really. Where “you is plural” is telling us the world doesn’t revolve around your own little self-centered universe, “you can’t make blanket statements is a warning to not generalize. Of course, technically you can make a blanket statement but you come off sounding like an uneducated jerk who has never seen anything outside your own world. This is especially good advice in light of current events…let me give you a few examples to think about: all Muslims are not terrorists, all Christians are not like the Westboro Baptist Church, all white people aren’t racist, all black people aren’t criminals… Get the picture? Remember how the world doesn’t revolve around you? Well, you also can’t view the lives of others through the lens of your own experience.
It takes two to have an argument!
Variation: It takes two to fight. This goes along the same line as two wrongs don’t make a right. It’s near impossible to have a fight with only one participant. Be a peace maker or walk away…does fighting really solve anything? Now, this doesn't mean you can't have or express an opinion (so don't comment about your right to your own opinion or how that Duck Dynasty guy can say whatever he wants, that is not the point). It is good to have and express an opinion but it is possible to do it respectfully.
For example: I see someone wearing a red shirt with yellow, green and purple polka dots all over it. Someone asks how I feel about his shirt? Should I say: a) OH YUCK! What an ugly shirt! How can you wear that shirt it is so tacky! What is wrong with you! Seriously, WHAT. IS. WRONG. WITH. YOU? No one I hang out with would EVER wear a shirt like that! b) Not really my thing but I like how bright your smile is. Let's go get lunch!
If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?
I really hate this one. Teenage me saw it as an attack on my intelligence…of course I wouldn’t jump of a bridge, that’s stupid! I would only do something someone else did if I also thought it was a good idea. What took me years to understand is I needed to put a little more thought into my reasoning. If I have a valid reason for saying, doing, or wanting something, I need to express it. If I don’t, perhaps I should think about it a little more.
Corn is a starch not a vegetable!
“Go downstairs and pick a vegetable for dinner,” instructs mom. Every kid’s favorite “vegetable?” Corn of course! Who wants peas or spinach when you can have corn! Except corn is grain (starch) which puts it in the same class as bread…it is yet another clever disguise for the dreaded and often misunderstood carbohydrate. Potatoes are also a starch. Sorry for the bad news.
Cheryl L. Eriksen, MSW - EAGALA Certified, author, horse midwife, artist...not always in that order...