(NOT CHARLTON RELATED) It's funny the things you remember from growing up. It was a source of much merriment and leg-pulling to a group of friends of mine recently when I announced that my Dad once told me that 'if you don't know where you're going, son, always go straight on'. It wasn't necessarily the statement itself that left me open for a hammering (as there may well be some sense in it, albeit metaphorically), but the apparent seriousness when I told them (I offered no defence, it was highly likely I was serious, after all, he's my Dad, and I believe him). If I'm honest, I can't say that I've ever been able to attribute the benefit of these simple words of wisdom to an event in my life, but I remember them...perhaps more that 30 years after they were told to me...and that's the point.
I doubt my Dad would even remember the moment the words came out of his mouth, and would probably be rightly annoyed that above anything else he may have told me to guide me through my youth, this appears to have taken priority. It has, however, made me think about the things I say to my two kids, most of which is total and utter nonsense.
For example, I've told my son (4) in the past to 'judge a man by the quality of his shoes, but don't ever assume it's connected to his wealth'. I also tell him 'to be wary of a man who wears his timepiece on his right wrist'. If I'm honest, I personally believe both statements have strong elements of truth and sensibility, although I realise I need to stop saying it for fear of risking my lad becoming judgemental of individuals not wearing a pair of classic brogues or distrustful of those not wearing watches on the wrist they were designed for! I also tell him never to offer up his left hand in readiness for a handshake (unless he joins some sort of Masonic lodge, I guess) and always maintain eye contact with a firm and solid grip. He struggles with that one...bless him...but then how many 4 year olds go about greeting people with a firm, robust handshake?
For years I tried to convince my little girl that a man called Mr. Spoon lived on the moon (of course, the truth is he doesn't, he just works there).
Other pieces of nonsense include:
When the ice cream man sounds his horns it means he's run out of ice cream (not sure where this came from, but it worked for a while).
If you hang your legs or arms out of the bed covers the monsters underneath will grab you (before you get social services involved, they know I'm joking...I think!!!).
Charlton Athletic are the best football team in the world.
But sometimes I do genuinely like to believe that some of what I say, no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time, will shape them better as human beings. For example, I tell my little girl (7) that the best thing she could ever have is a curious mind that wants to learn and discover new things. I hope that such statements will lead her to pick up a book rather than complain of having nothing to do (it appears to be working). When my boy and me play football together, I constantly tell him to try to imagine that the ball doesn't like being kicked and will try and run away at any opportunity. He watches the ball like a hawk and he's better off for it as we all know.
I had a lovely moment with my little girl the other day when I asked her what she got up to at School. She told me she had to stand up and tell the whole class what she was proud of. Apparently, she answered "my Dad tells me I've got a heart of gold, and I'm proud of that". I couldn't be more proud of both of my kids.
On the other hand, my Father-in-Law has a saying that annoys the life out of me as he clearly believes every word of it. He says "never believe a man who says he's busy". I work for my Father-in-Law and his words of wisdom mean I can never escape more and more work being piled upon me!