By Heather Barrow
If you have ever met my mom, Sarah Cauley (aka Grammy), you know her advice is solid and she always has an answer for everything. My parents divorced when I was young and I can’t remember a time when I saw my dad on a regular basis growing up. That meant mom raised my sister and I on her own. All three of us are strong-willed and stubborn so you can imagine the daily power struggle that went on in our house. While my mom had her bad parenting moments, she managed to raise two confident, strong and successful women. At the time, her constant reminders and words of wisdom drove me absolutely crazy. Today I realize that the phrases she repeated to me throughout my childhood and still today made me a good wife, great mom and positive contributor to our community. Thanks to my mom, I hear voices and I hope my kids hear them too. These ten Grammyisms will change your life.
1. Let your yes be a yes and no be a no. This is about having control of your surroundings. If you tell someone no (or yes), that is your final answer. It is not an invitation for negotiation. Anyone who does not accept your first no or yes is attempting to control you, and that person does not have your best interests at heart.
2. Don’t make someone else your priority when you are his or her option. There will always people in your life that seem to never have time to spend with you, or less time than you want from them. Do not wrap yourself up in trying to change that, focus on spending time with one someone who can also make time for you. Balancing your expectations of a friendship with reality will only ensure that you are not wasting your energy on a friendship that will never be what you hope.
3. People add, subtract, multiply and divide from your life. This one is simple; people in your life can easily be placed into one of these four categories. Time is our most valuable resource and the only people you should be giving your time to are the ones who add and multiply to your life. Cut the subtracters and dividers loose and you will notice an instant change for the better in your life.
4. Being late is a silent form of rebellion. If I had a dollar for every time I heard this growing up, HRH would have funding for eternity. My friends know that if I am ever late to an appointment or lunch, it is time to call 911, because something is seriously wrong. Growing up I was always the first person dropped off (and picked up) from school. My mom taught me that being late shows you are not that concerned about who you are meeting or where you are supposed to be. It implies your time is more valuable than someone else’s. It explains why I usually do not meet someone more than once if they show up late and why I married someone more punctual than I am.
5. Go where you are celebrated not tolerated. This applies to friends, family and co-workers. Be around the people who celebrate your strengths, not point out your weaknesses. These are the people who will lift you up, make you feel great about yourself and help you reach your full potential.
6. Always find a way to bless someone. No matter what you are going through at this moment there are millions of people who are worse off than you. Find someone to bless and what you receive will be much greater than your gift.
7. Not the momma. Growing up, I always thought I could do a better job than my mom and constantly tried to step in as the adult. This line was my mom’s way of telling me to relax because she’s got this under control. Now, I see the same tendency in my mini-me daughter and constantly tell her to enjoy every minute of being a kid because she will have a lifetime to be a grown-up. I have said this so many times, she now finishes my Heatherism!
8. When someone shows you who they are, believe them. This one seems like common sense but it is easy for anyone to fall victim to explanations for repeated mistreatment or bad behavior. While forgiveness is a big part of being happy, that doesn’t mean you should ever be someone’s doormat. Don’t give anyone repeated chances to mistreat you, once is more than enough.
9. When God closes a door, He always opens a window. This is a hard one to believe when you are sitting behind a door that has just been slammed in your face, but it has always been true for me. My biggest example is when the door was closed on me having any more children after I had Hill, a huge window was opened where I have celebrated the births of over 2,500 HRH babies. Don’t let a closed door set you back, be prepared to climb through that window.
10. The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude. While my mom is not the original author of this quote, it embodies what she tried to teach us. It stuck with me every day I was on hospital bed rest (and Grammy’s most captive audience), when Hill was in the NICU, when I found out I had a 5cm tumor on my thyroid and when my dad died suddenly of a heart attack. Every one of those days I woke up depressed and angry about the situation I faced. That depression and anger was confronted by the voice in my head telling me I had to make the choice to be positive and optimistic. Most of the time, I made the right choice but if not, I had a new opportunity the next day.
It is hard to predict what your children will remember from their childhood. I want to make sure I am filling their minds with proven advice from Grammy that will help them get through tough days now and when they are adults, and one day take them as high as they want to go. I hope you found a few Grammyisms that will work for your family too!