Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

It was just a small, round gold loop placed in his left ear, like the one many of his friends wore, but it bothered me. Why? I am not sure. It was probably because it represented a rebellion against the norm in our family; that is, girls wore earrings, and guys didn’t.

It was just a small, round gold loop placed in his left ear, like the one many of his friends wore, but it bothered me. Why? I am not sure. It was probably because it represented a rebellion against the norm in our family; that is, girls wore earrings, and guys didn't. It could have been the main concern that...It could have been the main concern that our friends might think our parenting skills were weak or the fear that he would reject other rules we thought were important.  So, I did what frustrated mothers do; I scolded him, nagged him, and finally pleaded with him to take it out.

Reluctantly he did. It was such a small part of his life. The significant part was that he was a quiet, shy, young man in his first year of college away from home, and he was following behind his near-perfect sister, who was outgoing, an honor student, and sang in the college choir.

However, all I could see was the gold earring in his ear.  Of course, I had not read the book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, and It’s All Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson. This small, 245-page book provides strategies for keeping it all in perspective, such as; “Repeat to Yourself,” “Life Isn’t an Emergency,” “Turn Your Melodrama into a Mellow Drama,” “Remember, 100 Years from Now, All New People,” “Keep Asking Yourself, ‘What’s Really Important,” and “Choose Your Battles Wisely.”

Carlson suggests that life is full of opportunities to choose between making a big deal out of something or only letting it go, realizing it doesn’t really matter.  Letting it go is what I should have done.  Our son wearing an earring was not a new thing or a big deal, but my reaction made it a big deal.

History tells us that the practice of men wearing earrings started thousands of years ago.  In 1991 a body was discovered found frozen in an Australian Glacier.  Test claimed the body was more than 5,000 years old, and both ears were pierced.  Some superstitious sailors pierced an earlobe to improve eyesight, and if their bodies washed up somewhere, it would pay for a Christian burial.

In many societies, ear piercing is done as a puberty ritual and is an almost universal practice for men and women; it only in Western civilization that it is deemed effeminate.  Many famous men such as Shakespeare, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Francis Drake wore gold rings in their ears during the Elizabethan era.

When I reflect on raising our children, it is evident that I was sometimes guilty of sweating the small stuff. According to Carlson, people overreact, blow things out of proportion, hold on too tightly, and focus on life’s negative aspects too much.

He and his wife also wrote “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” for men, women, teens, love, family, and money.  If I had read all those books when I raised our children, I might have been a lot more relaxed. But the fact was raising our children was the most important thing we did together in our marriage life, and sometimes it was intense.

It is comical to our children, now that I am a grandparent, how I am always telling them to relax; it’s not that important.  When we visited our son and his wife over the holidays, he leaned down to welcome me with a warm hug, and I felt something brush my cheek.  Sure enough, there it was again.  Only this time, it was silver.  It looked like a little spring wrapped gently around the lower lobe of his ear.  When he let go, and I looked up at him, we both grinned, remembering the mother-son battle of many years ago.

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Deana Landers
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I have had many roles in life
Pastor’s Wife , Mom/Nana , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer , Christian Speaker
I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing stories, either in my head or in my journal.

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Story Comments

  1. Chisolum -

    This is so beautiful and enlightening.I am a single mom and Nigerian,our culture abhors earrings on men but reading this article has opened my mind to information I never knew existed.Thank you

    • Deana Landers -

      Chisolum, thank you for reading my story and for your comments. I know it is difficult being a single mom. I hope to hear from you again.Deana

  2. Maria Antonette De Ramos -

    Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful story, for I am a protective Mother to my only Daughter. Being a single mom since she's two years old is not really an easy task, that's why I'm always strict for her to grow up being a well mannered and polite lady someday. And guess what, maybe of the way I raised her she's more of a disciplinary officer in her classroom...and yes, I should have been relaxed in raising her so she had been a sweet girl to everyone. She doesn't entertain sweet nothings/sweet stuffs she's ten but it's Odd she's more mature than I do and I want her to be silly and be a baby still. This is it, I should be gentle so she will be sweet. Thank you very much 😊

    • Deana Landers -

      Maria you comments are so wise and thoughtful. It is not easy being a single mother. I applaud you for your discipline and protection of you precious girl. She will be grateful for your guidance and gentleness as she become an adult. And I think odd is beautiful. Thank you for your kind words and for reading my stories.Deana

  3. Teresa -

    I enjoyed that it makes me remember when Joshua's mother pierced his ear and I told a fib and it was against school policies for him to wear it. After many battles he reluctantly took it out. Love you

    • Carolyn Dowd -

      As a personal friend of yours from high school, I know some of your family life stories firsthand and I can see how you are just the right person to write these stories. I could sit for hours listening to the things you have experienced over the years! I look forward to your stories every time I see them pop up on my email❣️

    • Deana Landers -

      Amazing how these little things become so unimportant when our time with them is so short, Teresa.Love you,

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