Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Three Rules to Live By

 
In going through some of my parent's effects recently, I came across a transcript from an interview someone did with my Dad. 

He was in his 80's and dying of cancer.  I am not sure why he was interviewed, but he was well-known in his community since he lived there his whole life.

One thing that struck me was his "three rules for raising his two daughters and son."

Rule #1: Use things for what they were intended.

Rule #2: Don't talk to me unless you can see me.

Rule #3: Leave things where you find them.

I thought, "Wow, those were the three principles on which I was raised?"

I do remember those being some button pushers for my Dad.

My Dad was all about a harmonious household.

The more I thought about them, the more they made sense for creating a life of harmony for yourself.

Just think about them...


Use things for what they were intended.


Possible Scenario:  You are sitting on the couch watching TV and eating your dinner of a delicious bolognese.

Your plate is balanced on your knee and a large glass of red wine is in your other hand.  Your wine-guzzling poodle comes running up to you, jumps up on the couch to try to get a sip and the plate falls to the floor creating a large stain on your white carpet.  Likewise, the glass of wine tips, creating another large red stain to which the wine-guzzling poodle is already applying his tongue.  You have guests arriving for a party in an hour. You shoo away the dog and frantically try to sop up the stains to no avail. 

Later, at the party, several people remark on the lovely red stains on your lovely white carpet, embarrassing you and thus ruining the party for you. 

Later your spouse brings up the issue of the stains and a huge fight ensues about being considerate of feelings, resulting in neither of you speaking to each other for a week.

Moral:  If you had eaten your dinner at the dining room table - and not on the couch (that's why it's called a DINING room table because you are supposed to DINE there ), none of that would have happened.

 
Don't talk to me unless you can see me.

Possible Scenario:  You are sitting comfortably in the kitchen innocently working with your tarot cards where the handsome Knight of Cups has just entered your future...

Your spouse yells to you from upstairs and says something you can't understand. 

You yell back, "What?" 

He repeats what he said and you still can't understand him. 

Now here is the issue.  You either can keep yelling back and forth or you can stop what you are doing, get up and go upstairs to see what he wants. 

But then you think, "Why should I have to stop what I am doing to go see what he wants?  Why doesn't he come down here to speak to me?" 

So you see, now a little war of wills has been created. 

Who should have to make the effort?  The person who yelled first?  Or the person being yelled to? 

As you ponder this question, you start to feel very put upon and, in a fit of pique, stomp upstairs. 

Your husband is standing in the bathroom shaving.  You are mad now at being disturbed from your tarot cards and the Knight of Cups and having to walk all of the way upstairs. 

"What do you want?" 

"We need toilet paper up here." 

The toilet paper is stored all the way downstairs which would require you to go back downstairs, get the toilet paper and then return back up the stairs. 

A huge fight ensues regarding consideration for another person's time and energy resulting in neither of you speaking to each other for a week.

Moral:  If you want to speak to someone, make the effort to go to that person instead of yelling from room to room. 
Had you done that, none of that would have happened.

 
Leave things where you find them.


Possible Scenario:  You are running late for work. 

You are wearing a new sweater that you snuck into the house yesterday so your husband wouldn't see it.  There is a tag hanging from it and it's one of those plastic tags that you can't just rip off. You go to the drawer in the kitchen where the scissors are kept and they are not there! 

Forgetting Rule #2, you yell at your husband who is upstairs, "Where are the scissors?" 

He yells back the usual, "I don't know!" 

You counter with, "I know you had them last because I always put them back when I use them." 

Silence. 

You are then forced to walk upstairs to yell at him further, not to mention the time it takes to look for the scissors, thus making you late for work.  In frustration you rip off the tag which in turn rips the new sweater, making you furious. 

A huge fight ensues about consideration for other people, resulting in neither of you speaking to each other for a week. 

(As you huff out the front door, you see the scissors sitting on your desk.  Oops. That's right, you left them there the last time you cut a tag off a top you had bought and snuck into the house so your husband wouldn't see it).

Moral:  If you had put the scissors back in the drawer the last time you used them, they would have been where they were supposed to be
and none of that would have happened.

This last one also applies to keys, Scotch tape and cell phones.


So my Dad's childrearing rules made perfect sense for harmonious relationships and I have applied them to my life.

I am very good about putting things back where they belong after I use them and using things for what they are intended, especially after trying to pry open a tuna can with a pair of scissors and cutting open my hand with the jagged can top when the can slipped. I still have the scar.  I'm not so good about not shouting at hubby from upstairs.

If you are in a relationship and your significant other consistently picks his toenails with a kitchen knife, can never find his keys or yells at you from the basement, disharmony can certainly occur. 

It boils down to a consideration thing and, in my humble opinion, I feel a lack of consideration is the root of most problems in life and relationships.

As I continued to read further in the interview transcript, my Dad is quoted as saying that "he taught his children self esteem and hope for the future when he impressed upon them that they could become anything they wanted."

That was very true. 

He never made fun of my aspirations to become an actress and would even say things like, "You could start out as a script girl, if you needed to."  Not sure that script girls ever get discovered, but I appreciated his interest.

He was always very encouraging.  I wish he had used that on himself. 

He always wanted to be a cowboy.




What Rules do you live by?


See you Friday for the Week in Reviews,
what I learned at my cooking class and
 how the library can help your retirement.

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