- Who died and left me in charge?
- What happened to make me right and everyone else wrong?
- What right did I have to sit in judgment on anyone?
- Don't you have anything better and more profitable to do?
- Did you finish your homework yet?
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Mama On: Taking Care of Business
"Take care of your own business."
If you really take the time to pay attention, and follow through on all of the associated actions, this bit of Mamaknowledge makes perfect sense. Really. If you pay attention to all of the little details of your life, there is simply no time to mess around in anyone else's business. And the nice thing about not having time to play around in other folks' lives is that there is no time for gossip, no time for envy, and (praise Jesus!) no time for screwing up someone else's life.
Don't get me wrong, my mother the Mamaknologist did her fair share of "communal observation," but she let it end with the last word of the conversation. She didn't let it drag on beyond the chit-chat over coffee or in the grocery store aisle. She didn't pull raggedy coversations over the back fence and then spend her days and weeks tripping over them. And she didn't let me do it either.
I actually remember her terminating one of my phone conversations when I was in junior high. Uhm, I hear you thinking, "Oh, no she didn't!" Well, yes. She did, and I had better sense than to make an issue of it. I think I made a face when I thought she wasn't looking, though.
Then, I got a lecture. Included in the lecture were such topics as:
And you've got to know that the last one was the one that was really important, right? Anyway, you know that she actually stood there and made me answer all of those questions, right? And of course the homework wasn't finished, but the whole incident made me think -- if I'd been doing the homework, I wouldn't have been on the phone and ... well ... caught.
Over time, I've applied this to a whole lot of other scenarios. I take care of business first and chat later. I have also noticed that gossip is a whole lot like lying -- if you listen to it, you'll almost always pass it on, and it will only get stronger with each passing. And in the end, a whole lot of time gets wasted. And what couldn't you do with a little more time?
For one thing, you could take care of a little more of your own business.