Things Mama Used to Say

things mama used to saySayings from long ago

The things Mama used to say are still with me today. Sayings we heard from our parents stay with us for years to come. That is why we repeat them to our own children; they have become a part of who we are. As these sayings are passed on to future generations, the things Mama used to say become things our grandchildren hear and pass on to their children.

When we fussed about working or shirked in our responsibilities, mama said:

  • Things done by halves are never done right.
  • Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today.
  • Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.
  • Anything worth doing is worth doing right.

When Mama heard us talking about others in negative fashion, we heard:

  • There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it doesn’t behoove any of us to talk about the rest of us.

When we accomplished something big (or thought we did), we never heard her say she was proud of us. Pleased? Yes. Proud? No. Instead we’d hear:

  • Self-pride stinks¬†[spoken in Pennsylvania Dutch, no less.]

When we complained that we couldn’t do a job because we didn’t know how, there was no excuse given. Instead, we heard:

  • Du larnsht nimi yinga. [You won’t learn it any younger.¬† The literal is: you learn it never younger.]
  • Where there is a will, there is a way.

When we thought the job was completed “good enough” or a B was adequate, we heard:

  • Good, better, best; never let it rest until your good is better, and your better, best.

About order and knowing where to find things, we heard:

  • A place for everything, and everything in its place.
  • A stitch in time saves nine.

things mama used to sayWhat I learned from things Mama used to say

I learned that diligence is important, and so is working willingly. A life of order brings beauty and rest. An attitude of learning is important. Pride is wrong, and so is gossip. Striving to do better today than yesterday is of paramount importance.

I learned that any employer would hire a woman like my mama. A worker was guaranteed a pay raise if he exhibited those same character qualities. What a way to live, and to work.

A cousin commented after hearing these many quotes:

An interesting theme — a good work ethic. Organization, initiative, self-motivation, good interpersonal relationships. Someone could do an in-service for employees on these quotes!

Yes indeed, I believe someone could.


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Photo credits: Pixabay and Shahid Abdullah through Pixabay.






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