It’s all about principle…

My Daddy really understood my personality as a child.

I’m the ‘it’s the principle’ type of person. If someone or something is wrong, then they or it is wrong. That’s the end of it. I shouldn’t have to make exceptions or adjust what I do because someone else messes up. That just doesn’t fly with me.

I have a brother, younger by about 4 years. When we were kids, we had our various chores around the house. Most of them were separate – I washed the dishes, he took out the trash. Or he would wash the dishes and I would dust everything. The only thing we had to do together was clean our room. We shared a room when we were smaller. So of course, I would clean my part but he wouldn’t. Unfortunately, Daddy didn’t care who didn’t do what, he just saw it wasn’t clean. As a result, both of us would get in trouble. (Not severe trouble – but I was the good child, so I wanted no parts of any type of trouble. My brother STAYED in trouble.)


I tried reasoning with my dad – didn’t work. I tried reasoning with my mother to talk to my dad – didn’t work. Like, really? As a kid, I didn’t really understand. I thought my dad was legitimately crazy. Why should I get in trouble for my brother failing to hold up his part of the deal? And you could clearly tell who the mess belonged to! Get on him, not me! It’s the principle! Don’t hold me responsible for his craziness. After awhile my brother figured it out too. He knew that I would clean up because I didn’t want to get in trouble. So I’d clean up my stuff…and his. I’d be pissed about it – well as pissed as you could be as a child trying not to get popped in a home with two black parents! But I’d do it anyway.

I was cleaning the apartment yesterday in preparation for my cousins coming to town. I cleaned all of the common areas from top to bottom. Vacuumed, wiped all of the furniture down, made sure the house smelled good, wiped down the stove, microwave, refrigerator – EVERYTHING. As I was mopping the kitchen floor, it hit me. Daddy knew what he was doing. It took me about 26 years to figure it out, but I see it! I have a roommate. And I’m frequently cleaning up after her. IT DRIVES ME NUTS…just like it did with my little brother. Should I have to clean up after other people? NO. Do I do it anyway? Yes – because I refuse to live in filth.

Daddy knew he had to work with his favorite stubborn-it’s-the-principle-daughter so when the day came when she was faced with a similar situation, she would be able to handle it appropriately.

Well done, sir. Well done.

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