kids do dumb things.
So do we.
The clincher is kids do dumb
things because they don’t know any better. We adults do dumb things
because we have forgotten the unwritten rule that shrewdly ushered us
through many temptations: the Grandma Rule. Don’t do or say
anything you wouldn’t want your grandma to know about.
The rule stops us in our tracks
like a sharp yank on the collar, doesn’t it? Grandmothers are our
consciences. A conscience with gray hair, worry wrinkles, laugh lines,
and pink lipstick that marks our cheeks with a kiss. And that crevasse
between their eyebrows? It didn’t pop up overnight. It was formed by a
lifetime of knowing looks. One look from a five-foot-nothing grandma
has the power to halt a six-foot-something adult and make him stare at
his shoes. World wars could be avoided if the Grandma Rule were made
Yet grandmothers have another
side. Their gentle hugs, the scent of roses, and the taste of freshly
baked cookies generate the feeling of security as capably as curling up
in a crocheted afghan on a rainy day.
A grandmother’s love contains
both comfort and bite; tenderness and strength. Their favor is light,
their displeasure a heavy shadow. When they scold, we feel as low as a
bug under a shoe. We are so eager for their approving—and
forgiving—smiles that we rarely make the same mistake twice.
Thus, we have the Grandma Rule.
Would our teenagers dare cut
class or say a cuss word if Grandma would find out? With the image of
Grandma hovering close, would they risk watching a movie they
shouldn’t, or wear that outfit that makes us cringe? Would we parents
snap impatiently at our children, leave the dirty dishes in the sink,
or fudge on our taxes if Grandma were in the room? I don’t think so.
Grandma Rule urges us to do the right thing in return for unconditional
love. Funny . . . isn’t that how God works too? We try to be our best
to please Grandma.
we try to be our
best to please God?
We should. It’s in our best
interest, and I know that God and grandmothers are in cahoots—I think
they’re involved in hourly updates. Although my grandmothers are gone
now, I hope they know their prayers on my behalf were not in vain.
Their consciences have become mine. At least most of the time.
But I can do better.
Grandmothers accept no excuses, and neither should we—from ourselves or
from our children. It’s not that hard to do the
right thing. We can be our best if we do
our best by following the Grandma Rule.
Doing so will make Grandma—and
God—proud. There is no higher incentive.
Or higher reward.