When we were kids, our mothers said things that we managed to ignore. Then, one day we awakened and realized that, although unintentionally, we actually listened to what they said and even more outrageous , we patterned our lives after things we thought we never heard. Is this confusing? It’s meant to be. Why should I be confused all by myself.
Anyway, here’s one thing I, inadvertently, remembered… “You get what you give”. It was not quite as colorful as “if you throw something at a pregnant woman the mice will eat your clothes”. Or, “be careful what you say in public because you never know who is sitting next to you.” But it was shorter. So, what made me think about it?
Recently, I had a dream about a former friend (you will soon understand why she is former), who told me that she had a dream that her whole family was killed in a car accident. How horrible,” I said, “No” she corrected me, “it was like a dream come true”.
Then I had another conversation with a friend who’s mom just died. “I wish I could care”, she said, “but we never had any kind of a relationship, so I don’t feel anything.” Then, as an afterthought she added, “You know, I bet my kids feel the same way about me. We were never close. In fact, I was just like with my mom. I didn’t have much time for them while they were growing up, and now that they are adults, they don’t have much time for me. Oh well, live and learn.” Obviously, she didn’t.
At lunch today, we were talking about public service. My lunch companion remarked that he thought public service was a hoax. That it was a profession for people who couldn’t do anything else – like be lawyers or doctors. The old, “Those who can do. Those who can’t, teach. The conversation was over before it became an argument. Public service is a way to make a difference… to make the world a better place to live... Blah, blah, blah. When I was a corporate executive, I thought you were supposed to use your expense account to buy your friends wonderful lunches and dinners … Clearly, a case of good public servant gone awry.
To tell you the truth, (as per the first paragraph), the whole concept of “you get what you give” is somewhat confusing. Our parents loved us unconditionally. If we were in trouble, they managed to get us out of it. If we needed, or just wanted something, there was no question that we would have it. They were not “on” us 24/7 (they had their own lives and allowed us to play without constant supervision), but we never doubted their passion about parenthood. And because we were a large extended family there was always some adult or almost adult lurking in the background. We learned at an early age that giving, always proceeded getting.