Thursday, June 23, 2016

A legacy of wise words May 29, 2016

LAS CRUCES – This month, I asked several people about the wisest advice their moms had given them. Ever since, I’ve been thinking about the best advice I’ve gotten and the legacy and bon mots I want to leave with my own son and grandson.
I’ve thought about conferring with my older sister and younger brother but I suspect there might be a consensus about the most memorable (if not the best) advice from our parents.
“Don’t do as I do, do as I say,” was Dad’s fave. He meant it to be funny, but I think the lasting affect was that all three of us strived to be better role models for our kids and to aim for honesty rather than hypocrisy.
“Smile sweetly, say ‘Yes, dear,’ and then do as you damn please,” was one of mom’s pre-feminist maxims, and I wish she’d followed it a bit more herself.
On the other hand, I’ve come to greatly appreciate her suggestion to “Bat your eyelashes and say, ‘You big, strong, handsome, wonderful man,’” on occasions that require lots more upper body strength, mechanical skills or tolerance for major messes than I possess.
I use the line a lot, and it always works, and I honestly don’t feel that it’s exploitive or offensive, now that I am a vieja, and flirting is no longer a blood sport.
I suppose I should check with Human Resources, just to be sure, but for now, I’m sticking with another favorite, generally attributed to U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper: “If it’s a good idea, go ahead and do it. It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”
My spiritual mentor had so much great advice to give us all that I wrote a book about her (“Tenny Hale” American Prophet.”)
A conversation that I think about a lot (and nearly every day, when I lived in Palm Beach, and during Presidential election campaigns) involved the social and spiritual plagues that each generation must confront.
“The diseases of my age were innocence and ignorance,” Hale told me, adding that the cures involved enlightened experience and education.
“The diseases of your age are arrogance and greed. Good luck with that,” she told me, shortly before her death on the eve of the 1980s “ME” decade.
I wish I could have just one more long consult with her about my theories regarding the only possible cures for arrogance and greed: humility and charity. How can we disseminate the cure in a world so dominated by arrogant, greedy sociopaths and narcissists who think things are just peachy as they are? (And break their spell over the multitudes who admire and follow them?)
The struggle between good and evil rages on, but as Dr. William Sheldon once opined, “Wherever there are two seeking consciousnesses, there is hope.”
And I have been heartened by the wit and wisdom of new generations, Gen X to Millennials, who continue to impress me with their resilience, adaptability and creative fusions of the best of the past, present and future sagacity.
I think we all have some important and original advice we should be collecting to pass on to the future. Here are a few truisms from my personal collection:
• The more some people feel they are out of control, the more they try to control others.
• The price of awareness is awareness.
• The absence of vice does not necessarily indicate the presence of virtue.
• Society should be more like a fugue than a football game.
• Everything (including life in general) is better with green chile.
Let me know if you’ve come up with some original advice you’d like to share with the next generation. We need all the help we can get.

S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at 575-541-5450, dmoore@lcsun-news.com or @derricksonmoore on Twitter.