Ten Things My Parents Did Right
10. Cooking - Once a week each of us kids had to cook a meal for the family. We got to choose whatever we wanted and had complete control of the kitchen. It wasn’t always a good meal, in fact some of “our own recipes” were disgusting, but everyone ate it. I don’t suck at cooking now, it’s their fault.
9. Appropriate Panic - My mom is a backseat driver. Anytime she is in the car with you she constantly gasps, grabs the armrest, and screams “Look Out!” After years of driving with her I learned this is not an appropriate level of panic.
8. Recycling - My parents recycled long before it was cool. My Dad had a whole setup in the garage for his Milwaukee’s Best Light cans complete with a can crusher and bins. I can’t remember him ever actually taking the bins to the recycling plant…but at least he took the first step.
7. Conservation - My Dad was big on not wasting anything. Ever. We had a chart on the refrigerator where he “charged” us for waste. If we left a light on it was a 10 cent charge, left milk in our glass maybe 5 cents and so on. At the end of the week whomever in the family had the least waste (we got to charge them for waste too) got all the money. I don’t do this with my own kids, but I try not to waste much.
6. Chores - We had to do chores around the house and we got an allowance for them. The big kids started doing chores in kindergarten and earned an allowance starting in the 7th grade. It’s good for them and me. They’re gone on a trip with Dallas’ Mom right now – there’s an 95% chance the dog won’t get fed until they come back home.
5. Phone Hatred - It’s a commonly known fact that I hate talking on the phone. I blame my parents. When I was a kid we got three (incoming or outgoing) calls a day. Each call could be no more than 10 minutes, they set a timer. When the timer dinged we got cut off – no questions asked.
4. Dessert Matters - We always had dessert. Usually it was canned fruit, but still it was dessert. I’m a big fan of dessert. I don’t eat it every night, but I would if it didn’t wind up on my arse afterward.
3. Security - When I was a teenager, if I left the house my Dad would yell, “Be careful, it’s a jungle.” Once I asked him what he meant. He said, “It’s a jungle out there, but inside this house, before you walk out that door – you’re always safe.” True story.
2. Parenting - When Taryn and John were little and acted like monsters my Mom told me I should be glad they misbehaved for me because if they only misbehaved when they were with other people I would never believe them, then I’d be one of those parents who thought their kids were perfect. Best advice ever.
1. Humor - We laughed a lot at when I was a kid. We laugh a lot in this house too. It makes me happy to be here.