Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Wisdom from Nana Nell the Great

This past week, we’ve had the privilege of hosting Stephen’s grandmother, and parents, but after his parents, left, his nearly 90 year old ‘Nana Nell’ stayed on for a couple of days before we drove her up to one of her daughters to stay with.

One night after dinner, I thought I should take the opportunity to ask what her top ten household and parenting tips were, as one day, sad as that will be, she won’t be around to ask, and I would regret having not asked her.   Nana Nell raised 5 children, who in turn have given her 18 grandchildren and 34 great grandchildren.  During the 2nd Word War she worked in Sydney at a Home for unwanted children, and thought she knew all about children, but when she had her own, and was with them 24hrs a day without pay, she realised she knew nothing about being a mother, and so went for prayer from the minister’s wife.  From that day she made it her mission in life to  be a great mother, and is now the one others go to for wisdom. 

So here they are, just as she thought of them, top ten tips and a few funnies to boot.

(Hey, and I don’t do all these, all the time, but I hope there is something in here that you can hold onto, and just because you can’t get these all done, doesn’t make you any less of a good Mum.)

1.  Make your bed as soon as you get out of it.  Turn around at your door and survey a neat room before you leave.  

2. Pick up any washing and take it to the laundry or hang it up.

3. Whatever you cook is for the whole family.

4. Whatever job you don’t like, get it over with first.

5. When you sort dirty washing, go through everyone’s pockets.   (She told us a funny story of how her boarders would always leave money in their dirty pockets and she would always return it, but one day she announced she would keep any more money found.  Suddenly there was never any money in their pockets.)

6. Have the house tidy for your husband, including yourself.  My husband told me later he really appreciated the effort I put in.

7. Praise the children for what they’ve done right during the day, and if they’ve made a mistake, just say ‘I’m disappointed about such and such’ then leave the matter alone. 

8. Tidy the kitchen together after dinner and spend time with your children before bed. It’s important your children have happy memories.  We would always work together to clean the kitchen and sing.

9. Teach your children to come in with a smile.

10.  Take a bucket into a room and put everything that doesn’t belong in that room in the bucket, straighten up the room and then distribute the things in the bucket so you aren’t making ten trips to and from that room. 

Nana also told us a story of the worst punishment she ever dealt out:

One day they had gone to visit another family after church, with her brand new big, fashionable hat, which she left on the front seat of her car.   Unbeknownst to her the children played hide and seek in the car and squished her hat, and in great annoyance she declared that there would be no singing on the way home in the car, at which all the children were devastated.

When her eldest daughter Robyn, got her very first pay check two years later, the first thing she bought was a big beautiful hat for her Mum.


Is there someone in your life who has wisdom to share with you?  Who would you regret not asking if one day they were suddenly not around to share with you anymore?   I’d love to hear if anyone interviews an older family member or friend to share some good ‘Titus 2 Wisdom’ of the older women mentoring the younger.
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