Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Grandmother Knows Best

If you've had time to check out my latest book blog, you may have already encountered the excellent encouragement that Pam and Peggy (The "Slob Sisters", aka "A Couple of Domestic Goddesses" receive from their grandmother:

Our granny had a simple yet profound way of looking at life. She'd hear a problem and have one of three things to say about it. It didn't matter what the problem was; one of her three responses would take care of it. Having had only an eighth-grade education, she used bad English, but her words were wise. She'd say:

1. "It don't matter."

2. "He don't mean nothin' by that."

3. We can't tell you the third one. She reserved this one for people like Hitler.

You could go to her and say, "My husband just ran off to Tahiti with his secretary," and she'd say, "Oh, honey, he don't mean nothin' by that." You could tell her you lost your wallet and all the grocery money was in it, and she'd say, "It don't matter." (Catch-Up on the Kitchen, 83-84).

These grandmotherly antidotes to fretfulness should serve you well if your interpersonal pitfalls, like mine, include being too reactive, flying off the handle before taking time to measure the insignificance of every little upset, feeling too easily wounded by stray remarks instead of dismissing them for what they are worth (usually very little). The next time I sense myself veering off in one of these fretful directions, I shall remember the message of Pam & Peggy's grandmother -- i.e., there's just no need to take most things so personally!

Another piece of inspiring grandmotherly advice comes from one of Ilene Beckerman's darling books: What We Do For Love:

My grandmother knew what she was talking about when she said, "If you have to stand on your head to make somebody happy, all you can expect is a big headache." (142).

Can you think of better advice than that?

Don't get a headache!

To read more about Ilene Beckerman,
see "Highlights From 2006"
on Kitti's Book List

1 comment:

  1. Nataliya: "I deeply respect the zen attitude of the first grandmother (though I am not sure whether I can live by it), but I cannot agree with the second one. I've seen somebody (almost) standing on his head to make me happy, and I would do the same for him. As to my headache -- "It don't matter."

    Kitti: Good point Nataliya!