I have heard so many talks and presentations that include something like this:
"When I was a kid, my parents used to always tell me, 'Remember who you are and what you stand for.'"
Then they proceed to explain they didn't know what that meant until years later. I had the same experience. Why was Dad always telling me, when dropping me off at a friend's house, "Remember who you are."
Believe me, I NEVER could forget who I was. Everyone was always reminding me. I thought he must be up in the night to say such a thing. So I have never said such a thing to my kids. In fact, the last time I heard someone tell their "remember who you are" story, I turned to my oldest daughter, Suzie, and said, "I don't want any of you to ever say I told you that and you didn't know what I meant. Let's come up with something that actually means something to us."
So we decided on, "don't screw it up." To us, that means to behave well, stand up for yourself, be an active participant, do your best and represent yourself and the family well. It isn't pretty, but it's functional. That's how my life has run, even though I tried to make it pretty for years, I just wasn't born with the innate talent for making things look pretty. I'm a get-the-job-done kind of woman, and I have to delegate the centerpieces to someone else.
So from now on, when I tell my kids, "don't screw it up," we have agreed on what that means, and they don't have to make a stupid mistake to realize what my dad hoped I realized when he said, "remember who you are."
This is great! It made me think of a similar saying we had with our boys when growing into the teen years. I wanted them to be boys but know what that can lead to. So, we just told them, "Don't embarrass the family!". They rarely did but they were still boys that often didn't get caught. Thanks for this enjoyable story Chantel.
Nice reminder, Chantel. In my family, when I asked my mother when she expected me to come home from a date, she never gave me a time. Instead, she always looked me in the eye and said, "you know what time you should be home." Boy, did that ever put the responsibility directly on me.
Enjoyed your story, Chantel, and I got a hoot out of the way you solved this dilemna. It was doubly funny because in my family, my mother would have just died if I'd used that particular phrase...using those words was just what she would have meant by "remember what family you come from!" Different generations, huh?
I'm all about talking to my kids in language they can understand. I see no point in using phrases that belonged to my generation or ones before if they don't convey the meaning as effectively as something more modern. Although we often do use some pretty old school phrases because my kids think they sound nifty.
Thanks, Chantel. It's great to finally know that when I used "Remember who you are" that you didn't have a clue what I was talking about, but I have always hoped that my children would always be smarter than I was. I'm glad I don't have to keep up with you kids! Great story. I love the way your writing is so straight-forward, also.