As a kid, I thought that any platitudes my parents gave me were pretty much crap — that they were just saying them to either shut me up or they simply didn’t have a better answer. Now that I am a parent, I know that these phrases are used because they are absolutely true. Here are some my folks told me way back when that I thought were lies — but are actually golden nuggets of truth:
Everything happens for a reason.
When I was a teenager and something in life just wasn’t going my way (let’s face it, that was 90 percent of the time), my parents would always use this saying. And though I never did, I always wanted to yell back in their face that it’s BS.
But you know something? They were absolutely telling the truth. Everything does happen for a reason. That reason may not be the reason you want it to be, but it’s a legitimate reason. And what might seem awful in the moment could actually turn out better in the end if you have the right perspective.
When I was 16, my JV football coach benched me midway through the season because, “I was no good.” (Totally true.) I, of course, was really bummed and my parents gave me the old “everything happens for a reason” speech. But the following fall, knowing full well that coach wanted me nowhere near the football field, I decided to try out for the fall play and I was cast, leading me to join the drama club and literally changing my life from then on.
So I guess my parents weren’t dirty, filthy liars whose pants were on fire.
If this is your biggest problem, you have a pretty good life.
My folks used this phrase whenever I complained (mostly about mowing the lawn). I thought life was so hard.
Oh, how wrong I was.
Obviously, the older you get the more problems can arise. I mean, I used to seriously freak out every week I had to wash my dad’s car. Now I wish that was the hardest part of my week.
What my parents were getting at was to appreciate what I had, as you never know when it can all go away.
You will eventually forget the pain.
When you get dumped as a teen, you truly think it is the end of the world and that you’ll never get over it. “How could I forget about Stacey? I WILL NEVER FORGET ABOUT STACEY!”
It turns out that my folks were right. You do forget the pain of being dumped by your first love. Time is the great healer — so much so that not only do you forget the pain, you even begin to wonder if you and Stacey really ever dated in the first place.
You don’t have to do everything your friends do.
But if I don’t do everything my friends do, how will I have any friends? At least, that was my thinking when I was a kid. Growing up, you had to do everything your friends did, didn’t you?
Well, it turns out, you don’t. As you get older, you realize that sometimes your friends are morons and you don’t need to do what they’re doing just because they’re your friends. And realizing that sooner than later can be a liberating experience.
You’ll have the same arguments with your kids as you’re having with us.
I will never have the same arguments as I did with my parents. I am going to be the cool parent. I am going to be the fun parent.
I am positive I have, word-for-word, the same arguments with my kids as I had with my folks. In fact, at least twice a month I have this same discussion that I had over 25 years ago …
Child: “That’s not fair!”
Parent: Life’s not fair!”
See? Same argument with just reversed roles.
Napping is fun.
I distinctly remember my parents telling me this as a little kid whenever I complained about having to take a nap. What person in their right mind would think napping is remotely fun? That’s kooky talk!
Now as an adult, I realize that naps are not only fun, but also something that was demanded of me.