Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

It was just a tiny, 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 might have been because it represented a rebellion against the norm in our family; girls wore earrings, and guys didn’t.

It was just a tiny, 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 might have been because it represented a rebellion against the norm in our family; girls wore earrings, and guys didn't. It could have been the primary concern that our...It could have been the primary 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 important thing 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. But, 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 matter. Letting it go is what I should have done. For example, our son wearing earrings 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 is 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 Elizabethan.

When I reflect on raising our children, it is evident that I was sometimes guilty of sweating the small stuff, but I never stopped believing in them. However, according to Carlson, sometimes parents overreact, blow things out of proportion, hold on too tightly, and focus too much on life’s negative aspects.

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. However, this week our adult children were concerned about their daughter having a small gem pierced in the side of her nose. She’s only 16. Like me, they are anxious over the many decisions she makes with her life. I remember the feeling so well. I also remember the prayers I prayed for my teenage children’s decisions.

Not long after the oldest son married and became a father, we visited him 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. My son started wanting a few piercings and tatoos when he was younger but once he turned 18, I knew he was able to make decisions. We have a great relationship and did compromise on a tatoo when he was about 20 on the placement. His ear piercing didn't last long - he didn't like it. Whew!

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, so much. RosemaryDeana

  2. Maria -

    I’m definitely guilty of doing this to my younger daughter who always wearing super short shorts. I have been learning to accept it. Thanks for inspiration.

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, so much. MariaDeana

  3. wise words. then comes the assurance we do in fact believe in them

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, so much. LindaDeana

  4. Luckily, the closest I've come to dealing with 2 teens is unmatched clothes. Lol but of course I always ask them to change and match. Love your writing. Thank you for sharing.

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, so much. BrookeDeana

  5. Another great story with a great lesson. Life is too short to focus on a small (what we perceive to be negative) when there is so much good that outweighs that one thing.

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, so much. Anita.Deana

  6. Libbie -

    Beautifully written as always. Funny, with my own adult children, it is always the small battles that I chose to dig my heels into that I regret the most. Luckily they have forgiven me for them. :)

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, so much. LibbieDeana

  7. Love these words of wisdom so much! Our oldest son was the first to get a tattoo when he went to college. I definitely struggled over that but I just kept telling myself that he loved Jesus and it would all be ok!

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, so much, MartyDeana

  8. I was never one to sweat the small stuff. I was also never one to care what others thought. With that said, yes, I let me young teen daughter get her belly button pierced, I let them dye their hair pink. I my son and daughter to go to the midnight bowl where they played fun music and had cool lighting. Both my kids grew up to be responsible, successful, caring, loving, productive members of society and I'm very proud of them. The way I look at it is, a belly button ring is pretty, I love them, it's just jewelry, no biggie. Hair will grow out. They can get into trouble at 8 p.m. if that's what they are looking for so bowling at 12 a.m. for fun with their friends isn't going to make them made bad decisions simply because it's a bit later than 8 p.m. So, I guess I can say, I never did sweat the small stuff. To me, better my kid should have pink hair than be a drug addict. Better their ear should be pierced than getting a call from the cops. As for what others think, I don't care. I never did, I never will.

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, so much. DoreenDeana

  9. Oh dear, we do, as parents, tend to overthink the small stuff when it comes to our kids. That being said, you've always come across as a wonderful, deeply caring Mom who instilled beautiful values in her kids and there's no handbook for how to be a parent, so we just do the best we can with the knowledge we have.

    • Deana Landers -

      Michelle, you are so right. We do the best we can and then when we become grandparents we look back and say, "Oh, shoot, that wasn't so bad!"Thank you, my friend,Deana

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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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