by Robert Jevne
Let me start by apologizing for the way this essay ends and then by saying I love my mother very much but in the somewhat strict delineation of duties in our household when I was growing up, advice either wasn’t under her purview or her interest. With five children, she most likely was too busy keeping up with basic chores to dispense indispensable wisdom as well. If she had anything to say about our activities it most likely was “Oh… that’s nice,” and I could never figure out whether she meant it or whether she was being ironic. In fact, neither one of my parents was big on doling out advice. We were left, for better or worse, to our own devices. Being unschooled in the methodology of worldly wisdom is why, when I became a parent, I came up with mostly off the cuff advice for my own children such as “Don’t go shooting pigeons in the barn” because I knew a kid who died doing just that, or advice on doing chores like “Lift with your heart, not your back,” All short lived and with limited effect. Which is why, like my mother, I’ve forsaken trying to come up with anything more meaningful and begun to practice her style of informed detachment as my kids begin to make their way in the world. My mother, like mothers everywhere, made breakfast, lunch and dinner, cleaned the house, washed my dirty clothes and for a short number years, even washed me. The love was all in the doing, did I really need to extract advice as well?
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