Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mama On: Keeping Your Mouth Shut (Sometimes...)

"Everything you think, you don't say."

Okay, for the pragmatic 21st century Mamaknologist, this may seem almost absurd. But on the other hand, it might be regarded as common sense. Think about it . . .

When is the last time someone said something to you, a "back-handed" compliment, if you will -- and you wanted to slap the spit out of them? But you thought about it, decided you didn't want to spend the night (or the rest of your life) in jail, and parted your lips to say . . . Nothing. And the biggest reason you said nothing was because (as my mother, the Original Mamaknologist would have told you) there was nothing to gain by speaking your mind.

I mean really, what can you do about situations like when people who owe you money have the nerve to get mad at you -- yes, you could sue, but remember that they already don't have the money to pay you. Or what about the folks who are determined to be rude and vulgar? They already know that they are rude and vulgar, and because they don't have a clue how to be anything else, they make everybody else's life miserable. And lest I forget, what about the people who bring chldren into the world and then refuse to parent them? So, of course you have to be victimized by the random disorder caused by the heathens (parents and children).

So, what do you do?

Mostly, you keep your mouth shut because one word would result in a few hundred too many. A lof of folks will turn their heads and go socially deaf and mute Personally, I take the Mamaknologist route -- I quietly lose my mind. Yes, I turn into that sweet and determined little old lady who speaks softly to the problem and then smiles at the perpetrator(s). I used to see my mother and my grandmothers do this and it looked crazy, but it rarely failed to bring about the desired result -- temporary order out of social and emotional chaos.

So, in my many years of studying Mamaknology Theory, what I have learned is this: you don't have to tell folks exactly what you think of them (and every other lousy human they have ever encountered) to get them to shape up and act right. You don't have to slap anyone hard enough to make thieir grandchldren flinch to make a point. And you don't have to rant and rave to put the fear of God in a "bad" child or errant parent.

You do have to pick your battles and your words carefully, though. You have to learn to be a person who can walk in this world armed with enough love and respect to choose your words and actions appropriately. You do have to think before you speak -- and sometimes you have to bite your tongue, because you are not here alone.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mama On: Random Acts Of Kindness

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you -- just because you can."

You already know that this is the Mamaknologist take on the Golden Rule, and I already know that your mother probably gave you the same guidance because... well... it really is the right thing to do for all of the right reasons. But it just struck me today that maybe this is one of those "bringing the universe into alignment" things. Oddly, this is the second week in a row that I have consciously left home to do something of benefit to my community and wound up doing something completely random that was of undeniable service to another. And it happened because it was the right thing to do.

I do some work with a community blood pressure project, and I thought that I did it because of all that I have learned from my own family health history. (Uhm, and by the way, do you know YOUR numbers? I'm just sayin'...) Anyway, I was on my way to a screening event and I got lost. As it happened, the man that I asked for directions gave them to me, but he didn't look well. He asked me what I was going to do, and I told him about the screening and that the case I was carrying held my b/p equipment (no, he didn't ask).

Blood Pressure? he finally did ask, and I said yes, then asked if I should take his, and he said yes. So I did. And as you've probably already guessed, it was at stroke level. He rubbed his head and said that the reading did not surprise him. While he refused medical care, he did promise to see his doctor asap and resume his medicine. In perfect world, he did, and my stopping to take that reading helped.

Today I took the train to another event and of all things, got off at the wrong stop -- just in time to hear a newly diagnosed blind woman yelling for help. Everyone else in the station seemed oblivious to her plight, so I went back, offered my arm and led her to her stop on another level. The happy part of this is that a lovely young woman stepped up as I was trying to find someone going toward the blind lady's stop. This young woman was bright, pleasant, and willing to help the blind lady on the next leg of her journey.

See what I mean? Random. It was just all about being in the right place at the right time. And that brings me to another bit of Mamaknology: God never puts you where you're not supposed to be.

Especially when it comes to Random Acts Of Kindness.