Thou Shout…

by Toni McGee Causey

When I was a little girl, I heard this preacher once, talking about the ten commandments. I didn’t understand much of what he was saying, but I was fascinated with the contradiction he presented: he was a dry man, like wood setting outside in the sun too long, warped and creased and bowed a little bit. Drawn up, I’d call it, settled into that shape with no intention of changing. But in the sermon he presented, he was going on and on about “thou shout” this and “thou shout” that, and I was confused by how dull and monotonous he was, droning without inflection, when his very sermon was all about shouting. And shouting sounded like a lot more fun to me than whatever it was he was plodding through. Shouting was living. It was exultation. And yes, sometimes it was anger. I was pretty disappointed later to discover that he wasn’t giving us permission to go around shouting about what we loved in the world, but was, instead, thou shalting us with rules. Rules are fine and necessary, but I still like my version better.

Thou shalt dance in the moonlight with someone you love. Of course, you’ll look silly. That’s the point.

Thou shalt listen to the old man’s stories. They are more than just history—they are a kindness you will one day hope to have.

Thou shalt tell your friends thank you, just for being there. They are a gift.

Thou shalt pay attention to which direction the hose is aimed before you turn on the water.

Thou shalt let the road rage idiot have the lane he wants. A car length is not a test of superiority. Nor is it something worth dying over.

Thou shalt take the time to build sand castles. Not everything has to go on your permanent record.

Thou shalt wear comfortable shoes. Two years from now, people will not remember what your wore. They will remember if you were grumpy, especially if they don’t know why.

Thou shalt pay attention when someone says they’re an asshole. They probably know what they’re talking about.

Thou shalt keep it fun—friendships, relationships. If you’re looking for ways to keep it fun, then you’re going to be paying attention to the other person and their needs, and you’re going to really see them.

Thou shalt not go down into the basement when the electricity is out, armed with a tube of lipstick and cleavage. This never ends well.

Thou shalt go fishing when you have the chance.

Thou shalt quit mocking your younger brother about that time you beat him up before you were twelve because one day he is going to be a fifth degree black belt and seriously, you do not want him to demonstrate that he is now able to break boards with your head.

Thou shalt remember that not everyone at the party (or conference) is an extrovert, and if they’re sitting there looking distant and unapproachable, it’s very possibly nerves. Go see. Ask them questions. Especially if you’re not comfortable at parties, either. [It is not like you have to marry them if you introduce yourself and find you don’t like them.]

Thou shalt eat all of the goldfish crackers, whenever the little victims present themselves. It is socially acceptable to hog them. [Hey. My rules. Get your own rules, if you don’t like mine.]

Thou shalt not eat all of the goldfish crackers and then ask the stupid question, “Do I look fat in this?”

Thou shalt be an advocate for children, wherever possible.

Thou shalt love. Not because you expect something back in return, because oftentimes people fail you. It is simply human nature. But you will love because the act of doing so, selflessly, helps us grow, helps us understand others when they’re hurt, and helps us heal.

There are so many more… but, now it’s your turn. Gimme your “thou shalts” for the day, serious or fun…


26 thoughts on “Thou Shout…

  1. Bobbie

    I need to print the road-rage one out for my husband.

    What a way to begin my Sunday morning. Thank you thank you.

    My own: Thou shalt never run through the rain, only IN the rain, and preferably with children.

  2. Karen in Ohio

    True words to live by, Toni. Love the idea of "thou shout". tee hee

    Thou shalt approach every situation with joy. Life is too damned short to be crabby.

  3. PK the Bookeemonster

    Thou shalt read whatever one damn well pleases, whenever, wherever, and have the freedom to drop material when it pleaseth one not anymore.

  4. karen from mentor

    Thou shalt keep the spirit of childhood alive by jumping in puddles, turning over rocks in streams, hugging trees and looking for toads. Thou shalt love thyself first.

    Thanks Toni!
    I loved this post especially this part:
    "Thou shalt pay attention when someone says they’re an asshole. They probably know what they’re talking about." ……. my post today was about forgiving just that.
    Karen 🙂

  5. Nicole Peeler

    Hey lady!

    I don’t have a "thou shalt," but I do have a motto given to me by my HS English teacher:

    Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, "Oh, shit, she’s awake!"

    Great post!

  6. toni mcgee causey

    Heh, these are great. (Nicole, that cracked me up. I think I love your English teacher.)

    Thou shalt expect life to be filled with the unexpected, like a pig on the balcony of your hotel. It’s the surprises that keep us entertained.

  7. JD Rhoades

    Thou shalt expect life to be filled with the unexpected, like a pig on the balcony of your hotel. It’s the surprises that keep us entertained

    And that get you banned from that hotel.

  8. Kristina Riggle

    Oh, I was going to do a traffic one!

    OK, a variation.

    Thou shalt not freak out about life’s little annoyances, because it only makes everything worse, and everyone around you feel worse.

  9. JT Ellison

    Thou shalt endeavor to laugh every day.

    Thou shalt not look back to events that are over and as such out of your control. Hindsight isn’t always a good thing.

    Thou shalt be kind to animals.

    Thou shalt appreciate life.

    Thou shalt be tolerant and accepting of views and opinions that aren’t in line with your own.

    Thou shalt blaze your own trail, satisfy your own needs, and take responsibility for your actions.

    Thou shalt find contentment in being alone. You can’t be with someone if you aren’t comfortable in your own skin.

    Thou shalt smile at the grocery checkout, the fast food worker, the garbageman, the postal worker, etc. A smile improves everyone’s day.

    Thou shalt endeavor to continue your education through new experiences, books and events.

    Thu shalt appreciate the people who bring you joy, amusement and pain. All are necessary to live.

    Thou shalt be. Turn off the internet, the television and the phone, and simply exist.

  10. Pari

    Thou shalt honor all animals except snails in your garden . . . then all bets are off.

    Thou shalt nurture your creativity wherever, whenever, and however you can.

    Thou shalt eat one fresh fruit or vegetable with every meal so that you can remember that all food was alive once.

    Thou shalt exercise daily — not for fear of fattiness but for the joy of feeling your own body in motion and giving a nod to the animal in you.

  11. BCB

    All my "thou shalts" have a similar refrain lately. Because I’m shallow:

    Thou shalt not be envious of all those going to conferences while you stay home.

    Thou shalt instead be grateful for the small things, like chocolate. And functional A/C. And the low balance on the credit card.

    Thou shalt remember the trauma and panic a crowd of people inflicts on an introvert.

    Thou shalt remember the unpleasantry of unpacking.

    Thou shalt be grateful to have escaped the recuperation period known as conference head.

    Thou shalt stop reading the tweets of people having fun at conferences.

    Most importantly, thou shalt go out into the world today and be grateful for the perspective given by all the people who have never heard of these conferences and wouldn’t want to attend if they had.

    Yes, I shalt go do that now. Right after I check twitter one more time…

  12. TerriMolina

    I Love your posts, Toni!

    I have a few shalts too. The only advice my aunt gave me before I got married and that I try go keep in mind is…

    Thou shalt not go to bed angry
    Thou shalt keep family night going even after the children ‘have their own lives’
    Thou shalt live by example
    Thou shalt not let your teenager choose the songs for your IPOD (or you end up with songs you don’t want to listen to…although you can get back at them by loading their IPOD with Barry Manilow and Air Supply) hehe

    Have fun at Nationals. wish I were going.

  13. Patti Abbott

    Thou shalt always look for good motives in someone’s actions even when the result goes awry.
    Thou shalt remember that harboring grievances takes more energy than letting it go.
    Thou shalt not expect thanks but remember to give it.

  14. K.M. Daughters

    Enjoyed every "thou shalt"! Especially re: "the asshole". 🙂

    Thou shalt awake grateful for the day and go to sleep each night grateful for what the day brought you.

  15. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Toni

    Fun post!

    Thou shalt, when at the supermarket, ride the empty shopping cart across the parking lot back to the herd, even when thou ist, in theory, old enough to know better …

    Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional.

  16. Pammy D

    Good one Toni!

    When I was a kid my Dad used to ‘shout’ it out. Every single morning at 7 a.m. sharp. Even on weekends. He would stand next to our bedroom doors and shout, "Wake up! Up and, At-em!" Why did I have to wake up early on a Saturday morning me because of this stupid, ‘Adam’ guy, who I didn’t even know? What did ‘Adam’ have against sleeping?

    It was very confusing, and now I sleep in as much as possible.

  17. Robin of My Two Blessings

    Great post. Love the list and agree with everyone of them.

    The only ones I have to add.

    Thou shalt not whine.

    Thou shalt be positive

    Thou shalt make the time to listen when hubby or child say something instead of just saying Uh hu. Otherwise you don’t know what you just agreed to. 🙂

  18. Catherine Shipton

    Thou shalt be somewhat forgiving of cranky pant moments as long as they are moment…dwelling in the shadow of cranky is crazy making for yourself and those around you…

    Thou shalt laugh upon reflection of one’s own cranky pant moments as a smidgeon of crazy just sets the endorphins flowing.


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