I love inspirational quotes. Always have. I sprinkle them freely, widely in speeches, writing, daily life and blogs. And I am always genuinely surprised if people comment on said liberal sprinkling. This is I suspect because I think it is normal, completely unnoticeable (is this a phrase?) or uncommentable (is that a word?). Or maybe, I am shocked that anyone is actually listening. I certainly never countenance the suggestion that I could be overdoing it.
So, when my eldest son, who is of great insight and wit, commented about said sprinkling of quotes throughout my parenting technique and general life advice, I was stopped in my tracks.
So Mum, he said, how many quotes does it take to live a good life?
Brilliant line, I’ll give him that. Called me out and stopped me in my tracks. So there I was, left standing there (does a line from a song count as a quote?) without a good quote or quick witted response at hand. After much laugher, genuine on my behalf I might add, I didn’t know what to say. I can be very literal you see and was trying to work out a number in reply. 10, 100, 1000?
So, a decade later, and I have finally worked out the response – As many as you are open to, honey.
Phew. I can leave the numbers to him (numbers not being my top thing) and I can convey the general ontological underpinnings of my approach. Inspirational quotes from the four corners of the globe and from the past are wisdom bubbling up from our collective consciousness and it is not so much in the speaking of them as the openness to listening.
It is still a very good line of his and I use it now as ‘a quote from my clever son’. It also reminds me gently to be the change I want to see in the world (Gandhi).