"If you remember to clip your toenails, you won't get holes in your socks."
It was practical advice that a mother would give ... and a child would remember.
Not only was a directive given, but a consequence (or lack thereof) was provided.
In this particular case, the advice surfaced in a party game.
(Toenails in party games? I know. It sounds strange, but if you were there, you would have laughed, too.)
Several years ago, my husband and I were among a group of couples who were guessing which friends' parents had given them particular advice. At the beginning of the game, we were each asked to write down a piece of advice given to us by a parent. We tossed the pieces of paper into a hat, and the hostess pulled them out one at a time. She would read them and ask us to guess which guest wrote each piece of advice.
It was a really fun game, and helped us get to know our friends — and their parents a little better.
Somehow this memory surfaced in recent days. I brought my 16-year-old home from one weeklong camp to send him off to another weeklong program.
We barely had enough time to unpack, do laundry and repack before he was off again.
For the second program, he would be staying in a hotel and would be responsible for getting where he needed to be when he was supposed to be there ... without my help.
He was fine with the concept. However, I have to admit that it made me a little uneasy.
The first day I reminded him of several things:
Go to bed by 11 p.m. The days would start at 6 or 6:30 a.m. Every day was full with an active schedule of speakers, activities and competitions.
Concept behind this advice: Rest is important if you want to do your best.
Get up when the alarm goes off. Your mother will not be there to make sure you stay away from the snooze button.
Concept: This is what it is like to be an adult. We have to get up every morning on our own.
Don't text when you are in a group of people. If you do, they will think you are not interested in them. Send text messages when you are alone.
Concept: Be attentive when you are with others. It is the courteous thing to do.
Do your best. Your parents have prepared you as best we could with the resources we had. Now's your chance to shine.
Concept: Remember what you have learned and apply it to every situation.
Have fun. Life can be difficult, but work through the difficulties and make the most of every situation.
Concept: Your attitude can make a difference for you and for others.
So, with that said, I had to step back and let him go.
Later I found out that he forgot sunglasses and extra batteries for his camera, but had most of what he needed.
Hmmm ... I wonder if he remembered toenail clippers.
Guess I'll find out when I do the next batch of laundry.
Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send email to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.