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Grandma’s Lessons No. 2

November 16, 2011

“Never ask someone else to do something you’re not willing to do yourself.”

Of all the lessons my Grandmother ever taught me, this is the one that has been the most enduring. I don’t remember what prompted my Grandmother to share this, but I think I was about 9 or 10 when she said it. We were in her car, going someplace that I don’t remember, when she started telling me about how she helped clean a family’s house to put herself through secretarial school in Portland, Oregon. The house was big, and the woman of the family felt it was too much for her to clean by herself. But, with my Grandmother’s assistance, she felt she could keep the house neat and tidy.

The woman worked side-by-side with my Grandmother in every room. The only thing she refused to do was clean the floors. That chore was left entirely to my Grandmother.

It was as she was hunched over the wooden floors, scrubbing the worn surfaces on hands and knees, that she decided she would never do this to someone else — she would never ask someone else to do something she wasn’t willing to do herself.

This story has echoed in my ears from the day she told me. And it’s been a guiding principle in my life ever since.

Thanks for the lesson, Grandma.

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