Complaining about my mom last week came back to haunt me – SCN Encourager

I should’ve figured my mom would get the last laugh.

But the risk was worth taking.

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 7.40.20 AMI couldn’t resist pointing out how many of the quaint notions and ideas I was exposed to as a child have forced me to now play “catch up” as a 21st century school communicator.

While it was never my intention to be a Debbie Downer (in an Encourager, no less), I’m sure many tears were shed by readers as I described how my mom’s choice of nightly bedtime reading materials sabotaged my career.

Now, after bravely stepping forward last week to lay out these sad realities for the first time, I’m finding out there are consequences.

I’m starting to hear my dearly-departed mom’s admonitions in the voices of others.

Here’s what I mean.

Like you, I’m always seeking out tips and hacks that’ll help me grow in what I know.

So I ran across this online article entitled “A New Professional You.”

Bingo! (I thought.)

The good-looking guy is not me. I'm the out-of-focus doofus way down on the left.

The good-looking guy is not me. I’m the out-of-focus doofus way down on the left.

What professional could ignore this little gem?


It wasn’t until I clicked on the link did I discover that the article actually centered around “10 Business Etiquette Tips for 2016.”


That word “etiquette” was a direct hit zinger to me right from my mom.

And boy, did it bring back memories.

I still remember how my mom raised “us” – her four boys with me as the first-born guinea pig – to follow certain rules, like always holding open “the door” for girls, for example.

Etiquette Word Cloud Concept in black and whiteIf she ever (EVER) saw one of us fail to hold open a door or offer to help a lady with her grocery bag, we were grounded from playing with our friends for the entire next day.

My brothers and I had precious little margin for error too, as my mom would  enact immediate sanctions without due process based solely on totally unsubtantiated field reports from a teacher, a neighbor, or even grandma.

Although my dad seemed somewhat sympathetic to our plight, he never stepped in.

He was probably worried about getting grounded as well!

And please don’t assume I didn’t try to assert some independence on occasion.

I did.

Back when I was in 5th grade, our family participated in a school car pool with three other families in our neighborhood.

My mom drove every fourth day, and as is my life’s curse, the other riders were three 5th grade girls.

On the days my mom drove, our car was literally transformed into a rolling manners-mobile with me riding in the front and the three princesses whispering among themselves in the back.

One of Michigan's first car pools. The practice should've been banned.

One of Michigan’s first car pools. The practice should’ve been banned.

The riding part of this ordeal wasn’t so bad, it was the stopping part.

It wasn’t until we pulled into the drop-off lane in front of the school that my humiliation really began.

You see, per my mom’s instructions, I’d have to get out of the car and open up both rear car doors, let the girls out, and then close the doors behind them.

What could I do?

My mom was right there watching me.

No matter how matter-of-fact and inconspicuous I tried to make this activity look, the girls never failed to take their sweet time and attract the attention of my friends.

And oh, did I ever get teased by the other 5th grade boys!

It was awful.

On one particular “fourth morning,” as my mom dropped us off at school, I saw my opportunity to end the teasing once and for all.

I slammed the car door on one of the girls as she was getting out.

(Gosh, I was clever in my younger days!)

I was a hero in the eyes of my friends for only about three seconds because that’s exactly how long it took for that little she-devil to shoot me an angry glare and then spin right around and manufacture a sobbing sideshow for the benefit of my mom.

I was grounded for a month and also had to sweep out the garage for four consecutive Saturdays.

My punishment for this offense wouldn’t end here, though.

When the she-devil and I went to our high school’s homecoming dance together as sophomores six years later, she told me at the end of our date that I was a better “door slammer than I was a dancer.”

Dang. Girls sure don’t forget much, do they?

Lydia Ramsey

Lydia Ramsey

But at least you now why I’m recommending these 10 updated etiquette tips for you.

Not only do many business and organizational leaders now believe training in etiquette should be a priority, Lydia Ramsey is an international expert.

She knows what she’s talking about.

Plus, my mom would expect no less of me.

So I have to pass this article on.

I want all of those haunting voices I’ve stirred up to stop.

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