Perspectives for the 21st Century
Show MenuHide Menu

When “Do As I Say” becomes “Do As I Do”

May 14, 2017  re-posted this piece once again, originally written in 2015 in honor of Mother’s Day and my mom.

Their title: My Mother, My Inspiration…


You remember the phrase our parents used to say, “Do as I say, not as I do?”  Here are some “Do as I say” edicts spoken by my Mother:

-Sit up straight.

-Walk looking up, not down at your feet. (My sister Linda stepped on a nail when she tried that!)

-Your face is going to freeze like that.

-Don’t talk to strangers.

-Yes you are going with me to so and so’s house.  Why? Because I said so.

-Go to school.  If you still feel sick in a few hours, call me.

-Play nice with others.  Treat them as you want to be treated.

-Put on lipstick.  You never know who you are going to meet.


There were 25 people at Mom’s 95th birthday February 2nd. It was a joyous, energized and eclectic occasion filled with relatives and friends, old and young, gay and straight, black and white. People couldn’t wait to hug and kiss her and tell stories about where they met and how she inspires them.

Linda and I are in the most enviable position of being able to focus, and change, the second half of the phrase ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ We now tell ourselves, as we navigate through our lives, ‘do as she does’ .



I bet some people look at Mom’s wonderful smile and her ‘in the moment’ energy and think, “Wow, this woman has had an easy, happy life.” From loosing both her parents by the age of 12, raising three children with no child support, to the loss of one of her daughters, how wrong they would be.

Author Vivian Greene wrote: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”

This is how Mom chooses to dance:

-By not putting herself down, beating herself up or saying negative things that demean who she is.

-By never saying, ‘why me?’

-By accepting that “this is the way life is.”

-By recognizing the good in others and treating everyone as an individual.  She still tells Linda and me not to speak to    strangers, but she never meets a stranger. It doesn’t matter if it is a clerk in a store or the person in the auto detailing shop, the first thing she’ll ask is their name.

-By never forgetting about the little girl who lives within her. She brings her out to play. When I called the other night, she told me she was watching a ‘penguin movie’ and could not talk.  She failed to hang up the phone properly so I was able to listen to her laugh, all by herself, while watching Happy Feet on TV.

-By repeating daily, “Some one up there is watching out for us and I’m so GRATEFUL.” Grateful being the optimum word.

-By getting out of her house and engaging in life. “I have to see people every day.”

-By saying, “Exercise. I notice one of the first things to go are your legs.”  Mom rides a stationary bike at a gym almost every day.

-By carrying herself with dignity and grace with her head held high. And I don’t remember her ever stepping on a nail!

-By putting her lipstick on before she walks out of the house!


Mom at 95, rocking those red lips and looking her elegant self

Mom at 95, rocking those red lips and looking her elegant self


Do what she does?  You bet. I’m learning how to dance in the rain.

One of my goals is to celebrate my 95th birthday, happy and healthy, with family and a group of eclectic friends, while wearing a brilliant shade of red lipstick!

How about you?



February 26, 2015 at 10:24 pm

Pamela, I love this! Your mom is so special, and you write so beautifully about her, bringing her to life as you celebrate her 95th and do as she does. ALL dazzling: your mom, you, your blog!
    February 26, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    Gillie, thank you. It means a lot coming from you!

Mimi Fallow
February 26, 2015 at 10:49 pm

Words to live by…and a kinship with someone else who enjoys the pure joy to be found in a kid movie!
    February 26, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    You’re right Mimi. I love my Mom’s ‘little girl.’ She’s a hoot. Thank you.

Linda Zitron Bailey
February 26, 2015 at 11:03 pm

You are amazing. You captured mother so brilliantly. I am so proud of you and so glad you are blogging. Can’t wait for the next one. Love you
    February 26, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    Thank you Honey. So grateful you are sharing this journey with me.

Jeanne Binder
February 26, 2015 at 11:58 pm

Great post, Pamela. Your mom is an inspiration. So glad you have this time with her
    February 27, 2015 at 12:00 am

    Thank you Jeanne.

Janet Garber
February 27, 2015 at 1:56 am

Like mother, like daughter. Neither of you misses out on a minute of life!!! Thanks for the inspiration!
    February 27, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Thank you Janet for your continued support!

February 27, 2015 at 3:19 am

This is so wonderful, Pamela. Thanks for being such an inspiration!
    February 27, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Thank you Beverly. You have always inspired me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *