Side note: When some see this, they will simply see the word “old,” but if my parents were old, could they take adorable selfies like this?
1. Respect was not requested, but required.
This goes for anyone: young, old or in between. The phrase “You have to give respect to get respect” was never a thing for us; instead, it was “Be as respectful as possible, at all times, to all people.”
2. Proper manners and etiquette were essential.
“Yes” and “no” were not allowed in our house, and “yeah” or “nah” would get you knocked into next week. Ma’am and Sir were required. Table manners were used at every meal, and we learned how to set the table in the proper way. And for those of you who think this is strictly a “woman’s” thing, my brother sets a better table than I ever could.
3. Boys had to pick you up for dates.
I hated this rule when I hit high school. My thinking was that, if I have a car and can drive, then why does a guy need to pick me up? I have learned that this is not a matter of convenience; it is one of respect.
4. School was serious business.
My mother taught school, so we had to behave and do our very best in school. Let’s just say that when I neglected to do so, my parents didn’t hesitate to march up to school and have a very awkward conference with my teacher in the middle of the day. It resulted in a lot of tears on my part. And restriction for a month.
5. It was your fault, no one else’s.
If your parents were anything like mine, they didn’t place the blame on teachers, peers, or anyone else for that matter. We had to take responsibility for every action.
6. Chores were not rewarded because they were expected.
My parents were big supporters of the idea that “you get paid with a roof over your head and food on the table.” We had to work around the house and the farm, whether it was cleaning or raking leaves.
7. You always felt extremely uncomfortable when other kids sassed their parents.
It literally made my stomach drop when I would hear my friends talk badly to or yell at their parents. I remember feeling shock the first time I experienced this.
We didn’t get time outs. We seldom got sent to our rooms. Instead, our parents would get after us with a belt, a shoe, a switch… Really anything within arms’ reach. However, we were never disciplined in excess, and they would always explain why we were getting punished.
9. Participation was expected of you.
My siblings and I were expected to either play sports or work. We weren’t allowed to simply go home and shoot the breeze after school. The idea that idle hands are the devil’s playthings? Yeah, it’s a real thing.
10. You had a curfew, and it was enforced.
I was to be at home by 11:00 p.m. every night because, hey, nothing good happens after midnight, right? This was my curfew until I left to go off to college, and there wasn’t a whole lot of wiggle room here.
11. You knew that some outfits would never make it out of the door.
If your pants fit too tightly, you couldn’t leave the house. If a shirt cut too low, you had to change. I liked to challenge this rule by getting dressed at friends’ houses, so if you ever saw me looking the least bit scandalous, my parents were definitely not aware.
12. Church was not the question, but rather the answer.
When we were younger, my daddy would lead the way as the Meadows family filed into the pew. When I got older and stayed at friends’ houses, Mama and Daddy always made sure I took my church clothes with me. It was the very foundation of my faith.
13. Quitting was never an option.
No matter how much you disliked a sport, you had to tough it out until the season finished. Mama didn’t raise no quitter, especially when it came to piano playing.
14. You never doubted you were loved.
I never once had to question if my parents loved me. I have two parents who continually sacrifice everything so that I can have a good start in this world. They gave me a strong sense of wrong and right, and I have them to thank for the strong morals and faith that I have. Words fail me in explaining just how much I love my Mama and Daddy, but know this: without them, I would be nothing. So, Mama and Daddy, thanks for the love that you never failed to give, even when it came in the form of tough love. I’m so lucky that God chose me to be your daughter.