Growing up, parents seemed to love dishing out imperatives, advice, and general orders.
“Elbows off the table!”
“Don’t tease your brother.”
“Don’t pick your nose. You’ll lose weight.”
It got boring after a while, all the dos and don’ts. Particularly when you’re a teen. In one ear and out the other, because you know best. But as you get older you come to realise that hey, sometimes my parents actually were right.
It’s funny, because it’s one of those things that you’d rather pluck out your nose hairs than fess up to. On the same level as admitting someone else was right or saying ‘sorry’.
So here is a list of a few things that still ring true, in a tribute to parental advice.
– Enjoy your age. It’s a bit hard to fathom when you are 16, and all you want to be is 18 and out of home. But what I would give to be that age again, if only for a few days. Housed, clothed, fed, pocket money for cleaning the family home, and skinny with no cellulite. It was a sweet deal.
– Eat your veges. As a child, it was an unavoidable torture in the worst possible way. ‘Why? Why? Why?’ Apparently because they were good for us. As we get older, they become delicious, and are still good for us.
– Use your manners. It was so painful to utter a shy ‘thank you’ to the neighbour for the chocolate bar, while Dad had a firm grip on your shoulder. Nowadays, a simple ‘please’, ‘thank you’, or ‘excuse me’, will get you a long way and is much appreciated.
– Drive carefully. At 17, you think you are invincible, and inevitably do stupid shit while you are driving. Now that’s all out of your system, you curse the idiocy of adolescent drivers and temporarily forget that that was you once upon a time ago.
– Wear sunscreen. Think you’re too tough for sunscreen, until that night when you’ve donned your crustaceous lobster shell.
– Make sure you brush your teeth. ‘Yeah Mum!’ A 3.95 second fix was all you needed. It was a necessary evil that signalled less TV time, and bedtime was drawing near. If it wasn’t for brushing my pearly whites, I’d look like Toothless Jim the Pirate. Too scary too approach, because of his secret gingivitis attack weapon.
– Money doesn’t grow on trees. If only it did! It was sometimes hard to comprehend that Dad’s wallet didn’t house a renewable resource that appeared when the sudden urge to spend arose.
But they were wrong about one thing… If you pull a face and the wind changes, fortunately your face does not turn into a permanent Picasso feature. Besides, for any of the wrinkles I’ve accumulated from crazy faces pulled, I can just use Botox.