Instructions

Sometimes the hardest thing in life is to follow the instructions. The reasons vary greatly on why that is.

(You don’t need help!)

(You know what you’re doing.)

(That detail wasn’t that important.)

(You misread them.)

(You can’t read them.)

(You forgot to check.)

(You didn’t have them in the first place.)

(Life isn’t that straightforward, better not chance it blowing up when winging it has always worked in the past.)

My mom has this little plaque that she got for Mother’s Day one year (or was it Christmas?).

Anyone can make a plan, but it takes great Management to leap from crisis to crisis.

Like a lot of people, my life has been chaos for most of my life, no matter how hard my mom tried to make it otherwise. Some of it was my fault (kids can be really stupid), some of it was just life being life and an awful lot of it was out of her control. The only thing she ever really had control of was her own influence over her children and even a lot of that just didn’t work the same for her as for others. (She had no idea that the thought of her disappointment was enough of a determent for most of her kids; there was no way we were going to tell her that when we were all minors. She still marvels over it now that we’re adults, though it isn’t quite as powerful now.)

She largely let us decide what we were going to do with our lives with only a few things required.

  • no drugs, alcohol, etc.
  • no premarital sex under her roof (or anyone else’s while underage)
  • must go to school
  • must graduate, GED or equivalent
  • must make own choices and live with the consequences
  • must never lie to her, not even a little white lie

I’d rather hear the gosh-awful truth than a pretty lie.  –Mom

  • must try to get along with each other

She’d give us instructions on things if we asked (how to cook this or that, how to clean this or that, how to sew, sing, musical theory, help with English homework, etc.) but when it came to advice it was always:

Mom, what do you think I should do?

What do you want to do? Why do you want to do it? What does the Lord tell you?

She would not give advice. Mostly because her folks and elder sister were very…enthusiastic…(yeah, I like that word, enthusiastic) with their advice about what she should do with her life. Mom was not very bossy or leader-ish when she was younger. She was the type who followed. (I’m a bit of a follower myself, but I also like to boss people around…so I’m a manager-follower-thing.)

Following instructions can both be very easy and very hard for me. Take cooking for instance, I can follow a recipe fairly well (as long as I don’t accidentally misread tsp for tbs and put 4 tablespoons of salt into a meatloaf) but if it’s one of those easy out of a box things? Somehow I cannot make them.

I know a lot of my friends during our teen years would often comment on the ‘freedom’ that my mother allowed her children. She trusted us to follow the rules she’d set down without her having to stand over us all the time. As she had to work most of the time, she wouldn’t have been able to stand over us. We had babysitters when our eldest siblings were in school, but once we were older and they were at home after school, we stayed home.

What they never seemed to realize that if you broke Mom’s trust, it took a VERY long time for it to come back.

(If, indeed it ever did…)

The point was, you need to follow the directions but you also need to decide for yourself just what those directions are worth because only you can make that decision.

This was originally for an old Light and Shade Challenge prompt that didn’t end up being posted for that particular prompt. I was going through my old drafts (I’ve been doing that a lot lately) and decided this just needed a little more before posting. I hope that it was enjoyable in some way.

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About martha0stout

I like to read and write and hang out with my family and friends. I currently live on a farm and all that such a living entails.
This entry was posted in Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Instructions

  1. This was very enjoyable. I have two adult kids, early 20’s and I am trying very hard not to push them to do anything with their lives that they don’t want to do. To me the biggest thing is to be happy with the choices you make and me pushing them and dictating what they should do will not make them happy responsible adults. Your mother was a very wise woman by giving you the freedom to make your own decisions so long as you didn’t break her very basic commonsense rules..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great post…I’m so glad you posted it. I am starting to do that now and then when I read something and sometimes I am surprised I wrote such a great post (grins). My friends were envious of my sister and me…she would tell us to come in when we wanted and that “she trusted us”…well, that was enough for me to NOT do anything; she too had extremely enthusiastic relatives and mother, so she acted the opposite. Also her saying was, God loaned you to me to raise and love. As for recipes, I have a real hard time following those…unless it’s baking but cooking, nah,I always feel they are guidelines…haha.

    Like

  3. NIKKI4148 says:

    Reblogged this on CREATIVE WRITING CORNER and commented:
    I think I reblogged “Glinting Behind” which I liked as well. My style! I loved it. But I loved this as well if my phone would actually cooperate with me.

    Like

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