Friday, April 15, 2011

The Only List They'll Ever Need

"I can't be responsible for everything, Joe.  If you want to learn how to cross your eyes so that only one moves, you will just have to ask mom.  She's the one who taught me."
Wow.  I didn't realize I had given lessons in that area.  I had to stop and think what exactly I have taught my children in the last ten years.  I guess I was hoping for at least a few life skills - like, tying shoes, making a bed, some simple multiplication, and maybe even the intricacies of flipping a pancake.  Somehow crossing their eyes is what made it to the top of the list.  I thought I better retool the list of lessons my elementary-aged children should learn before they hit the pavement to seek their fortunes:
1. Always say thank you - even it's directed to the lab tech that just poked you six times in the attempt to get a sample of your blood - would you rather have me try?  I think not.
2. When someone is angry in the house, start cleaning something.
3. Spend some time on your teeth - The Bald Knobbers show is no longer hiring.
4. Notice the little things and appreciate a beautiful sunset... or the trail of sticky juice you just spilled as you walked through the entire house.
5. Be kind.  Even when it seems it's getting you nowhere, this one always pays off at a later date.
6. Close the door behind you without slamming it - and first make sure no one is directly behind you - in that case, hold it for them.
7. Go to church - and occasionally listen instead of making origami frogs out of the bulletin.
8. Break a sweat now and again.
9. Just because your friend's lunch is chock full of Little Debbie Snack cakes and Slim Jims and yours is not - does not make me a mean mommy.  It just means that what goes around, comes around - I didn't get that kind of a lunch as a kid, so you can't have it either.  Simple "Bitter Child" law.
10. Help someone every chance you get.
11. Laugh at yourself.  Laugh at funny people, places, and things.  But don't laugh at funny-looking people.
12. Clean up what you get out - all of it.  No one likes to find a splotch of pink play dough on the seat of their pants when they return home from a trip to Target.
13. Oh, and learn one skill that sets you apart from your peers... like crossing only one eye at a time.
There.  That oughta do it.

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