When I was a teenager, my parents always allowed stray kids to stay with our family. In fact, at one point my parents had so many extra children staying with us, that my dad rented a building that had, in its past, functioned as a college dormitory.
My first visit to the dorm building impacted my life in a unique sort of way. It was the first time that I understood that not everyone lived by the same rules at home. As you entered each bedroom and closed the door, there was a list of standing rules posted at eye level. There was absolutely no question that the people who had occupied the building, prior to my dad renting it, wanted everyone to know exactly what was expected of them during their stay.
I have never forgotten those posted rules. It struck me odd that there needed to be a posted list for people to know how to behave. My mother was the sort of woman who raised her children so that we all knew (in all circumstances) exactly what she expected out of us, whether she was with us or not.
This morning I directed a memorial service for a family and the youngest son delivered a talk that reviewed his mother’s list of conduct. It reminded me of that list on the door in the dormitory building that my dad rented when I was a teenager. I asked the son for a copy of his mother’s list so that I could share it with you. It is a list worth knowing whether you are a teenager, a youngster, or even an adult.
Rules of Conduct
- Political correctness is rarely correct.
- Do not take offense when none is intended.
- Respect your elders.
- Respect your teachers.
- Swats come in uneven numbers.
- If you get a swat at school, you’ll get one at home too.
- If you get a swat at the neighbor’s house, you’ll get one at home too
- If you get a swat at your granny’s house, you’ll get one at home too.
- Respect the law.
- Treat a janitor the same way you would treat a CEO.
- Everyone deserves respect, so be respectful.
- Be polite.
- Use your manners.
- Say “Yes mamm: and “No mamm.”
- Say “Yes sir” and “No sir.”
- Never forget to say please, thank you, and excuse me.
- When you spend the night at someone’s home, make the bed when you get up.
- When you’re through eating, take your plate to the sink.
- If you wash the dishes, do them right.
- If a dirty dish is found in the cabinet, all dishes must come out and be rewashed.
- The same goes for silverware.
- If you get out and do something stupid and find yourself at the police station under arrest, don’t use your one phone call on mom. Mom’s just going to tell them they can keep you.
- If you don’t like the way someone else is doing something, get up, and do it yourself.
- No griping.
- Do not be ashamed of hard work or dirty work as long as it is honest work.
- You’re not too good to sweat.
- Never hurt anyone.
- You may not can help being poor, but you don’t have to be dirty. One does not have to be rich to be clean.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY:
- Don’t hold a grudge.
- Be quick to forgive.
- You’re not better than anyone else.
- You’re not worse than anyone else unless you choose to be.
- You have no right to look down your nose at anyone.
- Honor your family in your behavior and words.
- Respect and honor God.
I believe there are many who have experienced a list similar to this one from someone very important in their lives. It is a list derived from love and designed to give youngsters the best foundation in life from which to grow. Please consider applying it to your life and to those who you might have influence over. Doing so will only improve our world.
I will never forget that List of Rules posted on the doors in the dorm building that my dad rented when I was a youngster. I hope my children and grandchildren are aware of my desire for them to be good and honest people, who contribute to society, and who respect God and others for their differences and contributions.
I think that if all mothers and grandmothers posted a list on the back of every child’s bedroom door with love and concern for their welfare and growth, we would not be in the mess that we are experiencing in today’s society. Neither my mother, nor my grandmothers, posted any such lists, but you can well believe, I and my siblings knew exactly what was expected of us. Moreover, if we ever forgot, it didn’t take long for them to remind us.
I love my mother and both of my grandmothers. I miss them too. If I could have just one more moment with each of them, I would fully use it to express my undying gratitude, love, appreciation, and admiration for each of them. Time passes too swiftly and before we realize it, our opportunities to express love vanish. Please take this holiday season to reach out to those you love and express your love to them. Doing so will bring joy to them and to you, and when they are gone, you will be comforted that you expressed your love before it was too late.