Guidelines for a Good Life: Thanks to My Parents 

I’ve learnt A LOT from my parents.  Go figure, you might scoff.  I mean, they did raise me!  But, there’s so much more to it than that.  I’m not just talking about a casual nod to making sure I am clothed and fed, or that I don’t walk out in front of cars.  I am talking about the fundamental lessons that have made me who I am.  The foundations that have given me my love of life.  I think these two rather special people need to be recognized for providing me with this guidance for a good life.  So, here is some of the wisdom they have shared with me over the years!

Life is an Adventure

My Dad is a glass half full man, through and through.  He may be a grump sometimes, BUT, he’s only a grump when you start to talk about your own life from a glass half empty kind of way.  Lol!  So, if life throws you a curve ball you’d better believe my Dad’s going to tell you to see it as an adventure!  Moving across the country?  It’s an adventure!  This is where I get my positive attitude from.  My searching for the good in any situation.  It is a lesson that has served me well, even if I didn’t always want to be told everything was an adventure!

When Life gives you Lemons make Lemonade

Life is always throwing us some kind of challenge.  This is a lesson we need to learn really early on, to make the best out of a bad situation.  Our parents teach us this to help us to cope, to bounce back.  It’s a ‘silver linings’ attitude again.  There’s a lot of that in parenting!  And, there has to be.  Our parents are saying that whatever it is, we can get through it and even come out better for it.  This is a little bit like ‘Life is an Adventure’ but covers more ground.  Lol!  It’s a ‘chin up’ or a ‘dust yourself off’, which all featured largely in my vocabulary growing up!  Essentially, it’s the positive mindset approach which definitely belong in the list of guidelines for a good life.

There is No Such Thing as Can’t

When you are a kid, and you are struggling with something, hearing this can be so frustrating!  But, this is a major lesson in self-belief, resilience and perseverance.  I heard this many times growing up and I believe it has made it’s mark.  We suffer from so much self-doubt in this life and as frustrating as this is to hear when you’re feeling deflated, the underlying message is ‘you can do it’ or ‘I believe in you’.  It’s an old school way of boosting our confidence, for sure!  It’s tough love, but it’s love.

Family is Everything

We have a very strong bond as a family.  We’ve been through difficult times together and we’ve made sure that we are there for each other.  Even if we are far apart we make sure that we support each other in any way we can.  This is how I was raised.  Family is what it is all about.  This wasn’t a lesson like ‘There’s no such thing as can’t’.  This lesson was not expressed in words but in action and pure love.  It is like tasting the love in the chicken pie.  You can’t see it, you just know it’s there.

Kindness and Respect

I am so very grateful to have been raised by parents who treated everyone equal.  They are always kind and courteous to everyone.  Whether you are working on their garden or their health they will treat you with the same degree of respect.  This speaks volumes about the kind of people they are, and makes me so proud to be their daughter!

Calmness in the Eye of the Storm

This has a lot to do with their generation, but both of my parents are somehow able to be as cool as a cucumber through just about anything!  How do they do it?!  I am most certainly NOT as cool as they are, but then again I am an overly emotional Cancerian so that could explain it.  A lot can be learnt from their calm approach to situations though.  I know my husband would remind me of how I handled my newborn being sick in hospital and I guess I have to give myself that.  The thing is, we only find out how we will react when we are in the eye of the storm.

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Food = Love

Food is an interesting one.  I don’t know that we even realize what we are doing when we prepare a meal for our families.  My Mother fed us with so much more than gravy and cupcakes.  She fed us with LOVE.  The role of the chef has shifted, mingled and transformed in the household more recently but in our home my Mother cooked.  And, it was a beautiful and delicious show of love!  So, Mom, I’d like to let you know the love in your food never went unnoticed.

Music is Good for the Soul

When life got me down I would get a big toothy grin, and a little jig along with a rendition of Don’t Worry by Bobby McFerrin.  On other days it would be Charlie Chaplin’s Smile.  Whatever the mood called for my Dad was there with a song.  Music is the way he communicates his feelings, I have realized, and I couldn’t be happier about that!  Music really is good for the soul.  It has a message for any situation, a kind word or a heartfelt lesson.  It helps us through any situation that life hands us.  Plus, the grin and the jig had their part to play!  Thanks Dad!

Art is Good for the Heart

Both of my parents are so talented in their creative endeavours.  Whether it’s painting, woodwork, ceramics or decoupage, you name it and they can do it!  Being surrounded by creatives has taught me the value of art as a way to express yourself.  Being creative is an essential part of showing the world who you are, it is like wearing your heart on your sleeve.  Art is like pouring your feelings out onto the page for all to see.  In its pure form art comes directly from the heart.  Essentially, my parents taught me that art is good for the heart!  And, when your heart is full and healthy all you want to do is create more art!

Don’t let the Grass Grow under your Feet

My parents instilled a love of travel in me.  Through years of wonderful family holidays, and living in different cities, I have come to value the experiences that are to be gained from exposing yourself to change.  I was exposed to different cities and different friends.  You might think ‘where’s the stability?’ and for some people maybe it would have been different, but for me it was expansive.  I am a natural inquisitive and love learning from new surroundings.  For me, moving and travel were a massive part of creating resilience and a thirst for knowledge.

Books Will Enrich Your Life

The love of books is partly what has rubbed off from my Dad and partly some magical love of words that courses through my veins.  Books are anything and everything you could ask them to be.  They are carers, magicians, educators, artists and weavers of magic.  They have taken me on journeys beyond my own imagination and now lead me down an exciting path of self-discovery.  I have no words to describe the importance of discovering this love of books!

Laughter is like Medicine (or Magic)

My family was always very social.  And, having a large extended family, we always had people around.  With this came laughter (and singing!).  We are a family of story tellers and they inevitably end in peels of laughter.  That laughter brought the sunshine and love into the room and into our hearts.  The memories of these social occasions keep me smiling to this day.  Laughter really is like medicine, a cure for any sadness.

Family Vacations are Memory Makers

Don’t underestimate the value of a family holiday.  These are the experiences that you remember, that you take with you through your life.  I am all grown up with kids of my own but the memories of the road trips, visiting with cousins and Christmas’s spent with family are as clear as if they were made yesterday!  Even planning a special weekend away is so important.  You don’t remember the routine of your daily life, you remember those moments that bring you joy.  Moments filled with love, inspiration and good old fun!  Thank you for teaching me the value of family time.

Forever Grateful

Yes, you taught me to look both ways.  You also taught me how to tie my laces and say my please and thank you.  I am grateful for all of these.  But, the guidelines for a good life that I have been gifted by you are so much more far reaching than these simple lessons.  You have taught me love and joy and gratitude!  Life is short and precious and you have made me value every experience whether good or bad.  That for me is priceless!  Thank you, Mom and Dad, for all your guidance.

Steph x

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