As of late I have been thinking about my parents a good bit. Daddy is in very poor health and confined to bed and Mother is worn out from caregiving. Thinking about them and praying for them has caused me to think about what I would simply call "The Mitchell Rules for Living!" These rules were not written down, but we learned them growing up - one way or the other!
1. Make up your bed! We made our beds from the very early days of childhood. It was just not acceptable to leave the bed unmade. As we got a little older, it was just sort of an unwritten rule that you made your bed before you came to the table to eat breakfast!
2. Don't talk back! There was a very thin line between Mother and Daddy's perception of us making a reasoned argument or plea for more information and the crime of talking back! We tended not to make too many arguments or reasoned arguments because they were often perceived as talking back!
3. Don't EVER talk back to Mother! This was not a "Mother" induced rule, but a Daddy rule. Life as we knew it was pretty close to over if Daddy ever heard us doing anything he considered as talking back to Mother! We seldom crossed that line.
4. Don't lie! That rule was so severly enforced that we seldom ever thought of lying! If we did, we knew it was with a very high risk of massive discomfort should we be found out!
5. Work hard! Daddy and Mother modeled hard work at home and on the job. I'm not saying they were slave drivers. They just worked hard for our family. They raised our food. Mother sewed and made a lot of our clothes. Money was tight. They worked hard and provided for us. We boys enjoyed tinkering around with Daddy on the cars, the lawn mowers etc.. All of us picked up on having a good work ethic. I have worked at something since I was about 12.
6. Enjoy simple things! It was sort of an unwritten rule. There was not much technology as we were growing up - and we enjoyed a lot of simple things growing up. Now tell me, how many readers of this post sat in lawn chairs and on the back steps in the back yard watching purple martins feed in the evening! We Mitchell kids have! But I would not take anything for it. Purple Martins are an amazing bird to watch fly! We raised gourds and helped put them on the poles for the birds to nest in. It was a big deal seeing how many would return in the spring. We had lots of these simple entertainment deals that cost nothing but provided great enjoyment, entertainment, and family time! (ok- now I am a bit tearful) Other things- cranking the ice cream freezer, listening to WCPC on the stereo on Sunday night after church, or records, playing with the cats, and reading!
7. Love the Lord! It was also a rule - sometimes stated and sometimes unstated! This was reflected in our church attendance and participation. It was reflected in our being involved in choirs, crafts, revivals, and other opportunities. I could never imagine not being involved in a church, whether or not my vocation was in ministry. We enjoyed it all. I have pictures of my sisters in GA coronation dresses. That was a big deal back then. I remember getting the new suit every year for Easter (we outgrew the previous year's most of the time). We loved going to church. And we loved the Lord.
I know there were more of these rules - but these are foremost in my memory!