In yesterday’s Prime Minister question time, David Cameron offered Jeremy Corbyn some advice his mother might give.
…she’d say put on a proper suit, do up your tie and sing the national anthem…
Every adult will remember something their mother used to say. More speed less haste, if you have nothing nice to say…, don’t put your coat on now or you wont feel the benefit later. In fact the average mother will pass on 41 pearls of wisdom. My own mother and grandmother often had the snippets of advice they would dish out on a regular basis, given with such authority and belief, that if I followed it, everything would turn out alright. As we become adults we regurgitate the same advice. Never go out with wet hair, never swim on a full stomach, don’t run with scissors. Some of them have their basis in fact, and for our own safety, others just become strange pieces of advice we are expected to live by and take upon ourselves to pass on.
My grandmother would always say that you should never have more children than hands. My mother used to tell me never to trust a man with dirty shoes. She also once told me never to eat in the street and keep paracetamol with me just in case. My mother also used to tell me to go and look something up if i asked a question.. I am not sure if this was because she didn’t know the answer, wanted me to discover things for myself or was too weary to explain it. It is often all three of those things when I go and tell my children to go and google it! Everyone I asked when I was writing this had something they remember their parent saying. It evokes happy memories of knowing that someone cared.
I think the point is, the things we say to the children in our care, are heard, albeit selectively. But they are often remembered and stay with them as guidance in everyday scenarios or more difficult situations. Don’t litter, do your best, always stand up for what you believe in. Adults who had been looked after will often remember something was said to them and keep it with them so dont underestimate how important those bits of advice are. They might make the difference to a child’s life, or a decision they make as a teenager or how successful they become as parents themselves.
Whatever advice it is, whether you are prime minister or not, we all need those bits of motherly wisdom. Sometimes.