My son is working for a department store. He was telling me that people come in late and he has to stick around waiting for them to relieve him. “I mentioned it to my supervisor and she said, ‘Oh yeah, Rick runs about ten minutes late.’ Mom, if I did that in my old job they’d fire me. But this is a union and you’d practically have to kill the manager to get fired.”
That got me to thinking about work ethics, which made me think about something my dad used to say: “You can’t get by doing a half assed job. Get in there and do it right.”
When I try to pass that wisdom on to my kids, they say things like, “Stop being so anal, mom.” How come when my dad gave me advice it was wisdom, and when I give the same advice to my kids, I’m obsessing?
I guess I didn’t listen too much to what my parents told me once I hit the teenage years either. I thought they got pretty stupid about then. They didn’t understand what I was going through, my motivations, the pressures I had. Now when I talk to my kids the way they used to talk to me, I see them getting that glazed over look and I know exactly what they’re thinking.
“Here she goes again. Oh my gosh I hope this is a short one. She doesn’t know anything. How can I get out of sitting here? I could tell her I’ve got to go to the bathroom. Maybe she’ll forget by the time I get back. She is ADD. Yak, yak, yak. Doesn’t she have anything better to do? She’s always complaining about how overworked or tired she is or how there aren’t enough hours in the day. She could get about six extra hours every day if she’d just stop with these lectures. Oh crap, did she just ask a question? If she thinks I’m not paying attention she’ll start all over again.”
I know this is what they’re thinking because it’s what I was thinking. I thought my parents didn’t know anything, and so it was almost to my detriment to listen to them. I’d sit there while they tried to tell me stuff and think, first, how stupid it was that I had to be put through it – again – then my mind would wander to some guy I had a crush on McDonald’s French fries – anything but what they were saying. My dad used to tell me, “One of these days you’ll understand.
Now, with my own kids, I try to help them avoid the pitfalls in life, and the more I do that the more they are determined to do the exact opposite of my advice. Because they feel like I’m stupid and it would be to their detriment to do anything I suggested.
What’s that Justin Timberlake song – what goes around comes around? True that!