We recently rediscovered some old family slides (remember those?). Having struggled to see them through an ancient slide viewer, we made the decision to get them digitalised.
What fun when they arrived back! There was my family going back to the 1950s (before I was born) through the arrival of my older brothers and myself, and family holidays and occasions since. Some of them I’m sure I hadn’t seen before. And everyone is so young!
Christmas can be a nostalgic season, and so I find myself thinking about my dear old Mum and Dad and some of the things they used to say. In the spirit of Christmas giving, here’s three of their finest. I hope you enjoy them!
1. “Keep the moral high ground. The view is wonderful from up there!” (Dad). It’s something I find myself sharing with clients often, when they’re struggling with an over-bearing boss or bullying customers. When I was a complaint-handler I drew on this concept daily: if that customer can’t be polite, well – I have the choice to be the better person, don’t I? It’s advice that might be useful this Christmas if you have ultra-critical ‘helpers’ when you’re preparing the Christmas dinner!
2. “If it can’t be done with a nail file, it’s time to call in the experts!” (Dad again). Dad was a brilliant listener, story-teller, socialiser and thinker. But his practical prowess was largely limited to changing plugs (you can use a nail file for that) and unscrewing light bulbs (no fancy equipment needed). He was always happy to acknowledge his own limitations and felt he had nothing to prove. He also valued his time and saw no sense in wasting it on tasks someone else could do better – supporting them in earning a living at the same time. Oh, and he always had lovely, clean nails.
3. “If everyone in the world was kind – that’s all, just kind – all our problems would be solved at a stroke.” (Mum). The more I think about this, the more I realise what an insightful, important truth this is. Being kind doesn’t let us off the hook and turn us into something wishy-washy. My Mum was the practical one in my parents’ partnership (see 2 above) – she got stuff done. She fought our battles at school, got emergency appointments from formidable dental receptionists and dealt with classroom spats like a she-tiger. But it was always done with respect and I never heard her being catty or spiteful about anyone. She just called them out on their actions – which is often the kind thing to do. Other kindness just happens quietly, and I think that’s what she was really talking about. She discovered the concept of Random Acts of Kindness way before the internet caught up.
I hope I’ve inherited at least a little bit of my parents’ wisdom. I’ve forgotten how to change a plug (we don’t need to these days), but I feel utterly blessed to have been given some great thoughts to pass on down to the next generation.
What’s your favourite piece of family wisdom? I’d love to know.
Wishing you all a peaceful and joyous Christmas.
Licensed Springboard and Spring Forward Trainer
Winnthinking People Development