1. How to Wash Our Hair
This seems silly, but the bottom line is that we definitely don’t all do it the same way. You have your strict folk who lather, rinse, and repeat their shampoo every time, without exception. Then you’ve got your more chill folk who do it once before they condition. Of course there are those that skip the conditioner entirely, and another group that I only recently learned of who (wait for it) START with conditioner! What is this?
The point is that we all do it differently, and the people we have to thank for our methods are our dear old ma and pa. And don’t get me started on when we wash our hair. Recently I found out that my husband waits until the end of the shower after he has done all of his other bodily cleaning to wash his hair. Some things are just beyond my understanding.
2. How to Answer the Phone
This one may resonate more with some age groups than others (because cell phones were a thing for different people at different times) but it’s still interesting to see how our telephone greetings vary from one person to the next. For instance, I was raised to say “Burguess Residence, may I ask who’s calling?” every time I answered the phone when I was little, without fail. Sometimes I still do it in my dreams. Oh, landlines.
3. How to Cook Noodles
One of the most important days in our young lives was the one on which we wanted Kraft macaroni and cheese and, instead of just whipping it up for us themselves, our parents let us takes the reigns. As a result, many of us, to this day, carefully measure out six cups of water exactly and stare on eagerly at the saucepan (even though we all know better, because a watched pot really doesn’t ever boil). Others of us carelessly toss the noodles into the saucepan before even turning on the burner because we always know when noodles are done.
Whether confident or calculated, the way we learned to cook noodles established an important aspect of our character without us even knowing. Thanks, mom and dad!
4. How to Drive
Whether we drive like elderly couples on Sunday mornings or the criminals on “Cops,” the chances are good that our parents are the ones to thank (or blame). I have always thought that being in the car with someone while they’re driving gives you a little glimpse into their true self that you couldn’t get otherwise. And we spend our childhoods having those glimpses of our dear old mom and dad daily. So we see how they cruise and eventually mimic the techniques. Especially when it comes to the little things, like how far we turn our head around before we back up (my dad taught me just to go ahead and turn your entire body over the back seat just to be sure), how big of a space cushion we keep between ourselves and the cars in front of us, and how we respond to those things that happen on the road and sort of tick us off.
Next time you’re in the car with one of your parents, count how many little driving quirks they have that are all too familiar. It’s also important to note that most of our impressive car dance moves came from our parents as well, but that may be a conversation for a different time.
5. How to Do the Laundry
Some of us got on this train later than others, but our parents were almost always the ones who helped us along the tracks. The weird thing about most laundry machines is that there are always a thousand different buttons that you could press that deliver different results. But most of us don’t really know what every single button does because that would just be outrageous. So which buttons do we usually press when we do our laundry? Well, the ones our parents told us to many moons ago, of course.
So we all do it differently and are pretty firm in our methods. But thank goodness all of our parents told us how important it was to clean out the lint from the dryer. Way to go guys!
6. How to Talk to People about Important Stuff
I recall this lesson often, especially when I am doing important tasks that I usually file under “adult-ing.” Whether it’s making appointments, researching, asking for directions, or any of the other conversations we have with strangers, we often find ourselves doing it in a certain way. Something about it is inherently different from the way we talk to our buddies or our coworkers. And the way that we do it is almost always the way our parents did it.
Our parents were always on the phone with people about important things when we were growing up, and even though we might not have known what they were talking about, we always knew it was important based on their tone. They taught us our manners, of course, but there’s more to it than that. They taught us how to speak properly and clearly. They taught us how to emphasize certain things and explain ourselves.
One of my favorite things to do is to listen to some of my friends make important phone calls while I’m in the other room. They always take on this persona that is unlike their casual conversation, and it always reminds me of… you guessed it, their parents.
7. How to Make Food Better
I don’t have stats on this, but I’m almost 100% sure that every trick we have for making food better came from our parents or the kids in our cabin at summer camp. And the oddest cooking moves are usually hereditary. We all know people who add weird stuff to their food, like ketchup to their eggs, ranch dressing to their pizza, salt to their ice cream, or hot sauce to literally everything in sight, but for the most part, these moves all originated from a conversation with their parents in second grade.
I don’t know why, but it always starts in the second grade.