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April 27, 2011

Never too young, and never too old to follow the rules

by Prue Miller

When I was about 3, and I can still remember this in odd freeze frames, my grandfather watched we children mucking around with the garden sprinkler on a balmy late afternoon in Melbourne. He seemed to be a hundred years old, and always dressed in trousers held up by braces and was always shod in lace up shoes. I have no memory of him smiling or being involved in our fun. He sat, hawk like, at the back of the garden, observing his vegetable patch and our ‘carryings on’. (After he passed away I was amazed to find a violin in his room. It never crossed my mind that he had a heart). On this afternoon we were playing with an old fashioned lawn sprinkler, seen more often these days on golf courses and the like – a large metal bar swings around on a central pivot, with a very pleasing swooshing sound. We were turning it on and off, and kicking it around so it would go even faster. In any event there we were, in our cossies, mucking around, shrieking and tumbling around on the lawn, when the harsh tone of my grandfather cut through the fun. “If you play with that sprinkler, you’ll lose a toe nail!”

His exact words.

That I did not heed.

One minute later the cold bar whipped around on the sprinkler and tore my big toenail clean off. He said nothing. I screamed for Mummy, blushing with shock that a nail could actually be torn off, and that I had been warned, but had also been to cocky to listen. It was a life lesson that even forty or more years on I still recall. Listen to your elders, they actually do know what they’re talking about. Quite amazingly I know find myself repeating these words of sage advice to my kids … using tried and true lessons (“Amazingly, the dishes will NOT find their own way to the sink”, or more universally aware “Karma baby, karma will seek you out if you that again!”)

My life has not been an easy journey, and though it has taken away much joy, it has also taught me great lessons that have given me great joy. These are my own rules:

Concentrate on feeling the breeze on your face at every chance you get, it will remind you that you are part of the universe.
Hug until the other person lets go.
Watch the sky.
 Never miss a chance to tell your children you love them, even when they screw up their face in response, or say “Yeah, right”, or ignore you entirely. You’ve put it out there.
Sing.
Smile, even if it feels unwarranted.
And finally, never take a day shared with the ones you love for granted.

A nominated Pulitzer Prize Author, Regina Betts wrote 50 life lessons that are pretty darned good as well … tip toe (being careful not to kick the sprinkler) through them for a dose of inspiration. Click on the link below.

Regina Brett’s Life rules …

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