Our parents are often teaching us valuable lessons, whether we know it or not. Believe it or not, the best lessons might not always be the most obvious.
After Redditor IridescentBrushstroke asked the online community, "What is an unconventional way your parents taught you a life lesson as a kid, which makes you think to yourself "woah that was good parenting" now that you´re older?"people had plenty to share.
Read on –– you might come away having learned something absolutely essential.
"It seemed unconventional..."
Told me from young adolescence that no matter the situation, if I was drunk or high or whatever, if I was ever in trouble I could call my dad and he would come pick me up no questions asked. It seemed unconventional compared to my friends with strict parents who went buck wild when they weren't under their supervision, but it taught me to stay safe and smart, and I ended up being a pretty good and stable kid who knew I could go to my parents if I needed them.
"When I was three..."
When I was three I always kicked my shoes off in the car seat. Mom would have to put them on again at every destination.
One time we came home and there was snow in the ground. I had kicked my shoes off again and my mom just about had it. My dad came to the car and said "Ok, get out and go inside."
"But Daddy it's cold..."
Never kicked my shoes off again.
"When I asked a question..."
When I asked a question she didn't know the answer to, my mother would go out of the way to find an answer or find someone who knew. This humanized her and allowed me to understand that you don't have to be an expert on everything but you should always know where to look for answers.
"My parents divorced..."
My parents divorced when I was a baby and pretty much ignored me my whole life. But my mother would punish me by making me read this huge history book (Roman Empire through WW2) and my dad would make me clean and polish his tools.
By the time I was a teenager I was pretty well read and handy around the house.
"I stole a pack of candy..."
I stole a pack of candy when I was about five. My mom busted me in the parking lot, marched me back inside, got the manager and walked me to the person who had checked out our groceries. She made me apologize for stealing and promise to never do it again while I was full on hysterically crying. It was mortifying. When other teenage girls were shoplifting later- I remembered that moment and was like NOPE.
"The irony of the lesson..."
My dad would make me sign single season "contracts" for my little league teams, basically guaranteeing that I would remain on the team until the season was over. My dad was not a sports dad, and really didn't care whether I played sports or not, he just wanted to make sure that if I committed to something, I would see it through to the end, and not abandon my team mid-season just because I didn't like it or was getting bored (which I was prone to do as a kid).
To this day, I try to be very practical about my commitments, and I don't sign on for anything unless I know it's something I can fully commit to. Anything from work projects, after-school clubs (I'm a teacher), coaching, being a groomsmen in a wedding, I consider how committed I can be. The irony of the lesson is that I think I end up saying "no" a lot more than most people, because when I sign on, I'm committed to the end.
"They got me to try..."
They got me to try a bunch of food that I wouldn't be comfortable with at a young age.
I remember the day that my Mum told me "special fish cakes" were actually calamari and I had been eating squid rings, but I realized it was damn tasty and it opened my mind a little.
"I feel like..."
I feel like it will give context to give a little backstory on myself. I grew up very fortunate in a middle class family. I never wanted for anything.
But when my parents gave me something and I did not say thank you, they took it away. When I was younger, I was always so upset by this. But to this day, I am not reserved when it comes to saying thank you. I find it very important to express gratitude to others, and I am so thankful that my parents taught me that.
"I learned that exercise..."
I learned that exercise can be fun if you find a fun way to do it. For example, I enjoy visiting new places and trying the food there. So when I was a child my father and I would go on bike riding trips so I could try new food and see new places. Now as an adult I know how to ski, ride a bicycle, hike, canoe, kayak, ride a horse, run (sprint and long-distance), play soccer, football, baseball, ice skate, tennis, golf and several types of dance (Irish step dance, formal dancing, and DIY dancing). Incorporating my curious child mind with physical activity.
"My mother let me..."
My mother let me take a drag of her cigarette when I was about four. I would constantly pester her to let me smoke because I wanted to be just like her. I vomited. But I'm nearly 23 and have never touched tobacco since!
"If you accidentally..."
If you accidentally stab or cut yourself, the sharper the knife the easier the wound is to heal.
"When I was younger..."
When i was younger, i would always do math homework with my dad. Of course i would make mistakes and my dad always screamed at me and "bullied" me. We would do this until 6th grade. By then i was so used to my dad's treatment that i did not even flinch or argue and just concentrate on what was in front of me. Then a few years ago he told me that he treated me like that so i could face people with that kind of atitude and still be able to be the one rational and calm. And, well that worked very nicely as i would be bullied in school and the bullies would just give up as i did not even care to aknowledge them. This is a very good skill when "reality" hits you.
This man..... he knows what's up...
"We were taught to be satisfied..."
We were taught to be satisfied and happy about what we had. Fussing was never acceptable to both my parents. Eat what is served, two new party dresses per year, pocket money just enough to meet hunger pangs. Me and my siblings learned that what we had was enough to have a satisfactory life. I follow it with my kids, though not all the times but no fussing and no binge buying,
I am grateful to my parents for teaching us that I can plan my finances and family requirements better.
"30 minutes later..."
Whenever my parents would get off at the beach or park, they'd show some easy-to-remember landmark to us and always tell us that in case we got lost, this is where baba and mama will come looking for you.
I thought it was kind of dumb since I never thought I'd get separated from them.
Alas, I did get lost once while riding my bike in a huge park and simply couldn't figure out my way back to our picnic spot. I started crying an ocean and all I could tell the staff through my sobs was that I wanted to go to the red ice cream stall with the number 7 on it.
30 minutes later, I was being snuggled in my Dad's arms.
"Not sure if I can say..."
Not sure if I can say that this can be considered good parenting or not. My Dad always drove us to school. One day when I was in high school, he stops midway and cried so hard like he has a mental breakdown. He mentioned something about my mom always looks down on him. I was young and never ask him about the reason. But this teaches me so well that every human being needs compassion and warmth.
If you get caught breaking the law your mother will bring you lunch at the police cell and you'll reimburse me for the lawyer... But no one is bailing you out.
Keeps me on the straight and narrow to this day
"I never let a pillow..."
When I was a kid I was hanging a pillow out the window on a car ride (why? I idk, it seemed fun). My mom said, "Don't hang that pillow out the window."
I eventually dropped the pillow and she yelled, "That pillow was filled with money! No we can't go back to get it!"
I never let a pillow hang out a car window after that.
"Later, I realized..."
Growing up, if I or any of my siblings were crying/yelling/having a tantrum my mom wouldn't say a word - she'd sit back, watch (not in a judging way, more empathetic), and when you slowed down she'd calmly ask "are you done yet?". If you said no or started up again she's say "ok, I'll wait", and she would, very patiently.
We were never punished for tantrums or other outbursts, but eventually you had to be done and then she'd insist on talking about whatever you were upset about. I honestly found the process extremely annoying at the time. I thought she was just trying to get us to stop by 'winning' the first part by outlasting me then 'discourage' future outbursts by boring me insisting on all the talk afterwards.
Later, I realized it taught me more than I thought. It was always okay that I had those strong feelings, and it's okay to be upset, but taking those feelings out on others isn't useful or fair and other people aren't responsible for managing my feelings. I get to have and process all of them, and they're valid, but I need to then be able to talk about the underlying source in a constructive and fair way. Also, if it's someone else raging or demanding I take responsibility for their feelings I don't have to soothe them or accept responsibility - I'm not going to invalidate their feelings or stifle someone else's experience but they need to take ownership of it themselves and then we can talk about and manage the underlying cause together.
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