Sunday, May 09, 2010

Lessons from Mom

Lessons I'm glad I learned from my mother (although she didn't put them in these words), with commentary:
  • A person who treats you abusively once will do so again. Make the first time the only time. You're better than that, so walk away and don't look back. This was phrased in terms of if a boyfriend ever grabbed you roughly, but it's a great lesson for psychological abuse as well as physical abuse--and men aren't the only ones capable of being abusive, either.
  • Don't make any rules you're not willing to enforce consistently or statements you're not willing to stand behind. I picked this up from her based on parenting, but it really applies to pets, children, students--really, everyone. For example, don't write a policy on your syllabus unless you're willing to enforce it. If you're going to have exceptions, make them available to everyone, not the students who will beg the hardest.
  • Trust your instincts.
Lessons I wish I hadn't absorbed:
  • Education is all right, and so is working for a year or so as a teacher, but the real goal of a successful woman is to get married so you don't have to work again ever. She denies now that this is the case, but it was the clear message when I was growing up. I may have been the last person in the U. S. to hear this message.
  • Only stupid people need to do homework or work hard at school. A B without effort is better than an A you worked for.Boy howdy, did this one cause me problems!


Ink said...

Very interesting list! I have a LOT of trouble enforcing things once I claim that I will. Working on it.

Hugs on this reflective Sunday. :)

Lesboprof said...

I am officially making this a meme! :-)

Anonymous said...

I was explicitly taught the one about education. Education, necessary so you will have the right class status and be more interesting / have a more interesting life. Graduate from college, work for a year, marry. This was really expected. But I went to an academically demanding college, so in the explicit non-expectation that I would do anything else, there I (essentially) stayed, as a professor!

Are we really the last people to have learned this? Someone said it was still what happens to many daughters of educated men (cf. Woolf, _Three Guineas_).

undine said...

Thanks, Ink, and back at you!

Lesboprof, thanks! I would love to see what everyone else learned as lessons.

profacero, I'm amazed that you were taught that lesson, too; I really thought it had died out except in my conservative small town. Weren't your parents (as academics) pleased that you went on?