I was thinking today of my Dad. He left this world over twenty years ago, and even though our time together was short he has been a major influence on my life. He was kind, caring, thoughtful, and above all wise. If I were to think of one piece of advice he left me it was,
‘Never put yourself in the wrong’.
As a hot headed teenager and young twenty year old, I think on many occasions he saw me falling short on this particular piece of advice. However over time I have learned the value of it. It has allowed me to step back from the brink a few times, and to ensure that in the long run, I could leave an argument or disagreement with my head held high.
My eldest is older than I was when Dad died and I wondered what nuggets of inspiration would she remember if in fact something happened to me?
As a small child I advised her not to run too fast, in case she fell… well that was not the most amazing piece of advice. Neither was ‘Be careful’ while climbing in the playground, or ‘Don’t stare’.
As she got older my advice was better, but now she wasn’t listening. ‘I’m not sure about that friend of yours’, You’re pretty enough without all that make up on you, or perhaps most unappreciated of all, ‘That skirt is way too small, the more flesh you show the more power you give away’.
Now my daughter is an adult I am struggling to think of any nugget she might proudly one day attest to, as having come from me. Maybe I’m example enough of wisdom!
However a few months ago I received another piece of advice. A piece of advice which I have found to be of help each and every day. I definitely credit it as being the best advice I have ever received.
It came from a good friend of mine, Daniels mom. She turned to me one morning while we were on our usual walk and said,
‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’.
She said this with both regret and conviction. Knowing that she had recently kissed her young son goodbye forever her words pierced me. She spoke them softly but they continued to echo within me throughout the day, getting louder and louder. ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’.
I thought of all the things I fret over. Small every day worries. Worries about my family, my mother. Things I should do, things I did do. Words I spoke and ones left unspoken. School and homework, money and work. And I heard the echo, ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’.
Since that day, as the house becomes untidy, the laundry is out of control, the dinner is not as I imagined, the diners are late, the kids are cranky, my husband is….(fill in your own description), and I feel myself about to blow.
I take a deep breath, look at young Daniels smiling face on my dresser….and I don’t sweat the small stuff.