Like it or not, the holidays are upon us! With a few days off this past weekend, I was able to spend time catching up with friends. There was a recurring theme of “holiday unrest” with many of my favorite people this year: families fighting over meaningless things, choosing to sit around and drink instead of help with dishes, and bringing up memories from 20 years ago that definitely should have been left alone. You know, the kind of family that puts the “fun" in dysfunction!
My Thanksgiving was really a good one. Both of my children were home from college, and we were invited to spend the day with wonderful friends. We played charades with a new iPad app, feasted on a traditional meal and cuddled up by the fireplace. I’m not trying to rub it in, but it was pretty ideal. My favorite part of the day happened after dinner. (No, it wasn’t dessert!) There were so many people in the kitchen helping clean up that Grandma and I decided to stay out of the way and have a chat.
My friend’s mom, who we all call Grandma C, is a cherished lady. It is obvious how much her family loves her. She is a lovely Irish widow who has more children than I have shoes and lives in Minnesota. I know that someone who has faced the challenges of harsh winters and many mouths to feed has gleaned some wisdom along the way. I was eager to find out how she managed to raise such a loving family.
I asked her, “What would you say is one of the most important things you’ve learned in your 80 years?” She thought for just a few seconds and replied, “To zip your lips!” and mimicked the motion across her mouth.
I was surprised! I was thinking she was going dispense wisdom that was spiritual or a bit holy.
“My mother told me that, too. Some things just do not need to be said.” Grandma C added.
As we continued to chat, I began to understand the wisdom in what she advised and how it correlated to what was happening during our Thanksgiving together. These people were nice to each other—genuinely so. They had not grown up with constant criticism, so they refrained from criticizing others.
After speaking with my friends, and remembering some of my own holiday horror stories, I thought my conversation with Grandma C was worth sharing with you. Also, I wrote a blog last year on a similar topic, “The Criticism Cure.” (just click through to read it). It received a lot of response and may be helpful if you’d like to build a more positive attitude toward your loved ones, and life.
So if you want to have a happy family in the long run, think about zipping your lips in the short run.
Thanks, Grandma C!
©Mollie Morning Star 2015Short excerpts of this article may be shared on the internet provided a live link back to this original source is used. Reproduction in print is prohibited.