This Article is About
parenting advice
high heeled shoes
quiet desperation
raising kids
sincerity
paying attention
Parenting Advice From Johnny Cash And The Gambler
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Parenting Advice From Johnny Cash And The Gambler

There’s a wonderful country song that all Johnny Cash fans will know. It’s called The Gambler and I’ve found its message to be profound in relationship to parenting and, in fact, life.

You gotta know when to hold ‘em

Know when to fold ‘em

Know when to walk away

Know when to run

This will go to show that there are many things in life we can learn from, especially if we’re paying attention, and ‘us parents’ will sometimes snatch at any straw of inspiration to feel we’re doing OK in our parenting decision.

This song’s philosophy has been with me in relationship to raising kids. My daughter is only 8 and she is desperate for a pair of shoes.

Not just ANY shoes but tottering, glittering, glamorous diamante studded stiletto shoes. It has come to her attention, and therefore mine, that her not so dainty foot can now fit into a very dainty size 5 adult lady shoe.

The world is her oyster. Or so she thinks!

This is where my mummy beliefs, values and ideals kick in. How do you explain to an eight year old that she’s too young for these gorgeous delicacies? She’d look like a miniature tart on stilts (no offence ladies… she is 8!!)

So we’re ‘browsing’ with the underlying tone of quiet desperation. You can work out whether I’m referring to me, or her, there. I’m quietly muttering “Too high, no, too high” and she’s beseechingly saying “I know what you’re going to say mum, but…”, “oh look at this one….”, “it’s not so high as that one…”

I’m starting to waver as we move between stores with my little one holding my hand in innocent enjoyment of the day out alone with her mummy. She exclaims with such heartfelt, beseeching sincerity; “High heeled shoes are my life!” Sigh.

A helpful and sympathetic shop assistant smiles broadly and says we must have a special occasion coming up. “Yes, we do” I answer, “feeling wonderful about ourselves”.

We find the perfect court shoe with a girlish bow, just the right height, diamante trim and a perfect fit. We’re both caught up in the moment until I realize the shoe is $110!

I just can’t do that with this growing foot and a little soul who will love her shoes enough to wear them through thick and thin (grass, rocks and mud probably that is). I have to say no to a crest fallen little girl who implores me to put it on my credit card.

Suddenly that first pair we saw four shops ago, that I dismissed while barely looking at them, seem a real option. My daughter has remembered them through out the whole journey while I was getting my head around the whole concept.

Time is running out in the day and we retrace our steps right back to where we started. My head is starting to catch up with the message on my heart;

You gotta know when to hold them

Know when to fold them

Know when to walk away

Know when to run

When it comes to parenting:

  • Sometimes it’s important to set boundaries, limits, restrictions and rules.
  • Sometimes I need to bend with the wind, give in a little, realize I’m enforcing my value levels in life on my children; perhaps unnecessarily.
  • Sometimes the argument is just not worth winning. Being graceful and bowing out is really the best outcome for both my child and myself.
  • And sometimes I’m dealing with my passionate little daughter and I’d best know when I’m plain beat!

Like Cinderella she slips the delicate little lady shoes on her feet and smiles hopefully as I kneel to buckle the tiny straps. They’re perfect! Why didn’t I see it an hour before?

Don't sweat the small stuff, I tell myself silently. There’ll be time enough for counting when the dealings done.


Street Talk

Warms my heart... My daughter is now 36 and her daughter is 8... I smile as this wheel turns round and round.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Yes, I look forward to delighting in my children's journeys. I know my parents are enjoying mine.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Rob I can see why there's no button to reply to certain comments....

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Got it wrong "behind every successful women is herself"

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

lol... is this related to mothers having eyes in the back of their heads? I have to respectfully disagree with you on this one though. When I hear the lyrics of "you raise me up" it always brings tears to my eyes, which testifies to the profound truth it speaks to my heart! And anyway, 3rd comment... I get the last say!!! ;-)

  
  about 1 decade ago

Heather another winner! I remember the times with our kids in similar situations, was I pleased to be a father, my standard answer "Ask Mom" how I managed to side step these decisions, the wife was and still is a good negotiator. Like your daughter there are food items I yearn for and will ask for every day, some how she can still negotiate her way out of having to make it, to the extent I start feeling guilty about asking for it. Good woman to have around!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

They say behind every good man is a good woman. Works both ways I think. The ideal relationship brings out the best in both people!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Is the saying not "Behind every good woman, stands a cowering man?" LOL

  
  about 1 decade ago
AJ  

Heather, I can tell you are a wonderful mother. What a great story, and song! I think sometimes it is important to bow down gracefully as it teaches our kids how to negotiate and gracefully accept when we don't get our way. Great article for all parents to read, but especially ones with their own little princesses!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

AJ I think my children were born with the gene to negotiate... but sadly it wasn't from my side of the family. I have had to learn that there are some qualities in my children that I don't currently like (like my persistent daughter who recently asked for custard every day for a month straight until I finally made some) that will make them very dynamic and assertive adults. The trick is finding the balance. Thanks for your kind comment.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
Tracy Cox  

With children you have to pick your battles. I agree, a pair of shoes is not one of those battles. Have fun a long the way, they will grow up to fast.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

lol... perhaps that was my issue Tracy. My little girl is growing up so fast. I used to joke that when they were trying to crawl I would push their bottom down and when they started walking I wanted to leg rope them! There's another song that says "Letting go, there's room enough to fly! It's never easy, letting go". Sigh. My stuff!!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Great article. A lot of songs bring life together with there words.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

That's so true Daniel. I have lyrics in my mind from 35 years ago. Songs make me reflect, think and sometimes cry. Often, as in this instance, I believe they're guidance from someone wiser than myself!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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