What a great listography topic from Kate at Kate Takes 5 this week. Things we learnt from our parents. Where to start? Well, of course there’s all the usual swimming, reading, bike riding and then how about what to do when your cat is in labour, how to make the perfect G&T or how to adjust the choke on my ancient Fiat Uno. I think I’ll narrow it down to those things I’d most like to pass on to my own kids. Here we go:
1) There’s a big world out there
My dad’s job meant we were lucky enough to live abroad a couple of times when I was young. It’s great to be able to feel at home in another country and culture. I think it has also made me more willing to move around and try new things. I lived and worked in Germany for a little while before I was married and I hope in the future we’ll have a chance to live abroad with the kids whilst they are still young.
2) The importance of siblings
Neither of my parents were particularly close to their brothers and sisters and they both regretted it which is why they have always made sure that my brother and sister and I looked out for each other. Much as we’d moan as teenagers when my brother had to stop playing on his computer to help us fix some gadget or I had to change my plans on a Friday night to chaperone one of their parties or drive them somewhere, as adults they really are my best friends. I’m so proud when I see my boys playing together and I hope they will grow up to be as close, even though I know they will bicker along the way.
3) The ability to be happy spending time by myself
Of course it’s important to play with our kids and to socialise them, helping them to interact and play and work together but we were also encouraged to amuse ourselves. Read a book, make something or just roam around the garden. This really fostered an independent streak in all of us that has helped us deal with life’s ups and downs and to be happy in situations where we’d need to meet new people.
4) A practical approach to health
My mum is a nurse. Not a new style hold your hand and fill in a risk assessment type of nurse but a ‘buck up and get a bit of fresh air’ type. She has taught me that as long as you know what potentially serious symptoms to look out for everything else is almost always best dealt with by a combination of rest, fluid, good food and gentle exercise. Her ‘keep an eye on it but they’ll probably be fine by tomorrow’ approach has given me the confidence to avoid most of the baby health paranoia that so often sees new mums heading down to the GPs and help me keep those worried sleepless nights to a minimum.
5) If you try to understand why someone did something that upset you it’s often much harder to stay upset
My parents maintain that most people are not horrible, they just do horrible things sometimes and there’s always a reason for their behaviour. This isn’t alway what you want to hear when someone has upset you but suddenly the girl who didn’t invite you to her party becomes the girl who was upset because you’ve been spending time with here best friend (why don’t you invite both of them over?) and the boy who wouldn’t speak to you becomes the boy who is scared you’ll turn him down in front of his friends (why don’t you talk to him next time?).
I think the perfect G&T is probably the most useful though 😉