As My Mother Used to Say…  Great Sayings We Have Not Forgotten

Kids These Days…

I first knew there was something going on when I heard my teenage son say that something was “sick” — meaning is was really good. Or it was “fat” — which made it even better. Except I think he and his friends spelled it “phat.”

More recently I’ve heard him talk about “doom scrolling” — which refers to trolling through the Internet looking for negative news about the economy or anything else. He’s mentioned “ghosting” — which means ending a relationship by suddenly and without explanation halting all communication.

My, how things have changed. 

The Good Old Days

When I was a kid things were much more simple. Something was either “cool” or it was, “Hey, that’s not cool.”

We must have had a few other references and sayings. But I think I took most of them from my parents. For example, my mother would always caution us kids that we didn’t want to find ourselves, “Up a creek without a paddle.”

She also used to tell us that “a stitch in time saves nine” — which basically means the same as “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” She also warned us: “Better safe than sorry.”

My dad always told us that “we reap what we sow.” But his favorite saying was: “A penny saved is a penny earned.” And then he’d go on to explain that, actually a penny saved is really more than a penny earned because the penny you earn is subject to income and payroll tax. He was a stickler for detail. And also a child of the Depression.

Of course, these old sayings are “a dime a dozen.” But let’s face it, they are often so true that they “hit the nail on the head.”

I remember my high-school math teacher used the phrase: “Belt and suspenders.” I think it means essentially the same as “better safe than sorry.” But the point is, the teacher wanted us to solve a problem, then go back and check our work, and even go back and check it again. (I never went that far, which might explain why I got Bs in math and not As.)

My next-door neighbor liked the phrase: “That’s a fine kettle of fish.” I’m not even sure he knew what it meant. But his parents used the phrase, and he liked to mock his parents… in front of his friends, but never in front of the parents themselves.

I don’t mean to open up a can of worms. But don’t just sit there like a lump on a log. What are some of the truisms you learned from your mother or father… or passed on to your own kids? Go ahead. Don’t be a stick in the mud. You can let the cat out of the bag. 

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About The Author
Tom Lashnits
Tom Lashnits
Tom Lashnits spent 40 years in New York book and magazine publishing before retiring to Bucks County, PA, in 2017. He now volunteers in the school system, produces the baby boomer blog Sightings Over Sixty . . . and is just starting to chase after grandchildren.
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