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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Slices of Life, Our house rules


Slices of Life

By: Jill Pertler

The title of this column may lead you to believe I entertain a lofty perception of my house – as in my house rules the universe. While that may be true (but not really), the “rules” cited in the title refer to a noun, not a verb.

Rules: Directives involving the correct time to go to bed, the necessity of frequent tooth brushing and the value of vegetables. In other words, the things every kid detests.

I penned the following tidbits of wisdom during my early, tadpole days of parenting (before I’d earned my legs), hoping they’d bring order to the universe, or at least to our dinner table. Then I framed them. I actually believed the framing would increase the likelihood my kids would read and abide. What can I say? I entered parenthood with a blatant sense of optimism and a handy dandy set of house rules. I’m proud to say both are still intact.

Be kind – to yourself and each other. If you can’t expect kindness within your own home and family, what can you expect from the rest of humanity? Remember, if the world were a kinder place, we wouldn’t need so many rules.

Always tell the truth. Except when it will make someone feel bad. Do not tell someone they look tired or old or fat, especially if that person is your mom.

Respect others and things. This goes double if the things you are respecting belong to your brother. Removing items from your brother’s bedroom without his permission does not constitute respect.

Be safe. If your activity – in any way, shape, or form – could take an eye out or anger your brother, it is not safe. (See the respect others example above.)

If you use it or play with it, put it away when you’re done. Putting something away does not mean tossing it in the general direction of where it is supposed to go. Nor does it mean pushing it under the couch or hiding it behind a pillow so it is out of sight.

If you step on it and it isn’t supposed to be on the floor, pick it up and put it away. This is called responsibility. It is also steeped in logic. You are closer to the floor than Dad or Mom and bending over is much easier for you.

No running, yelling or throwing in the house. Or throwing up, for that matter (if you can help it).

Sit on the furniture. No climbing or jumping. If your dad and I wanted you to own a trampoline, we would have bought you one.

Take your shoes off at the door. They’ll be easier to find tomorrow morning when you are late for the school bus.

It’s okay to be angry, but don’t touch someone when you are mad at them. You’ll only be tempted to pinch. Or hit. Or both. Or worse.

Don’t stay angry. In general, it is a waste of time.

Everyone makes mistakes. If you do (and you will) say you’re sorry. A spoken apology can work wonders, and its power multiplies if your words come from the heart and you mean what you say.

Try to be forgiving when someone else makes a mistake. Even (and especially) if that person is your mom.

Say your prayers every night. And morning. And whenever else you need a good ear.

Attitude is a window into your soul. Keep yours positive. Remember, I am constantly looking through your window. (And like all other moms, I do have eyes in the back of my head.)

No matter what, Mom and Dad will always love you. I saved the best for last because this is the most important rule of all. Never, ever forget that.


Last weeks column: I’m all right, how about you?

Jill Pertler, award-winning syndicated columnist and author of “The Do-It-Yourselfer’s Guide to Self-Syndication” is collecting fans on Facebook on her Slices of Life page.  Email her at; or visit her website at

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