Who remembers their teenage years? Desperately trying to fit in with the most popular brand names and fashions. Getting in with the right crowd was everyone’s secret mission. But not too many remember life lessons of moral character, work ethic and values.
I was 15 and boys were the single thing that my life revolved around. You’re going to laugh when I tell you that my twin sister and I were literally grounded to one boyfriend a year. Growing up in our rural town in Arkansas sheltered us from the many fears going through your head at this moment. Yes, we had a different boyfriend every month of the year up until that point. But to us that meant holding handing hands in the cafeteria and an attempted quick kiss before the lunch bell rang. Which almost indefinitely ended up that awkward “oh my gosh that was so embarrassing” moment.
In our parents eyes, they didn’t want their daughters to be seen as a Jezebel. And while we weren’t doing anything of the sort, we have no control over what other people think and how they view us. In the south, a persons reputation is all they have. That was one of the many lessons for us to come!
The biggest lesson that effects me every single day…improper grammar! As a teenager we despised being told the way we spoke was incorrect. At home we were corrected when we used double negatives and if we used the word “like” in any other form but in comparison. Can you imagine living in today’s world without using the word “like”? For many it’s impossible but it is now a word I can’t stand!! I literally correct my 4 year old when she says it! Haha!
I also had the privilege of taking a speech class my freshman and sophomore in high school. That teacher was hard core! She carried a bell around the room with her. If we said “like” or “um”, or any other form of poor speech, she dinged us. Try getting through a 90 second impromptu speech flustered and embarrassed with a bell interrupting you every other second. Gee wiz! We learned impromptu speaking, debate and team building communication. It was life changing!
I never imagined 10+ years post high school that these lessons would stay with me. But they are truly engrained in my core. This is where my love of writing comes from. I owe my parents and teacher, Ms. Currier I think her name was, big time!
Next to my passion for correct grammar, good work ethic has to be my biggest asset. I pride myself in the work I do and every job I have ever had became personal to me. While I was never taught these phrase lines, they just seemed to be second nature to me. Things like, never do anything half way. Always plan one step ahead. And of course the Golden Rule, treat others the way you want to be treated. I used this line just yesterday… if I’m on time, I’m late. I am always early to things. Showing up late is just a sign of disrespect in my eyes. I could go on and on. If I could teach work ethic in a class in high school or middle school even, I’d go get my teaching degree tomorrow!
Life gives you lessons whether you like them or not. Good, bad or ugly. And when you have family with your best interest in mind, cheering you on… you can do anything! I am so grateful that my parents cared enough about my future and my successes that they took the time to teach us these lessons. I pray that God guides me as I teach these values to my daughter too!!