I received my first pair of galoshes before I was old enough to know what they were. That’s just the way my parents did things. I grew up in an era when kids worked and played in all sorts of weather. We didn’t hide in our houses every time it rained or snowed. So of course, our mothers made us wear galoshes.
I eventually grew up. Those galoshes turned into duck boots. When I transitioned from manual labor to white-collar work, I traded in my duck boots for GC Tech waterproof overshoes. Strangely enough, I still have a special fondness for my childhood galoshes. Why? Because they taught me some valuable life lessons. Here are just five of them:
1. I’m Not the Smartest Person in the Room
Kids have a tendency to think they know everything. Likewise, they think their parents know nothing. I certainly thought that about my parents in reference to wearing galoshes. My mind couldn’t comprehend the need to wear such large, clunky shoes over my school shoes. So what did I do? I took them off as soon as I got a block away from the house.
I thought I was outsmarting my parents. I wasn’t. And that made a difference when they stopped paying for new shoes. Having to pay for them myself made me realize that I’m not the smartest person in the room.
2. Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees
My parents made me wear galoshes for two reasons. First, they firmly believed that wet feet could lead to illness. Second, they knew that investing in galoshes would save money in the long run by reducing what they spent on new shoes. This goes back to the previous point. My parents made me pay for my own shoes once they discovered I was ditching my galoshes. That taught me that money doesn’t grow on trees. I discovered fiscal responsibility when it was my paper route money being spent on shoes.
3. I Won’t Always Be Comfortable
Another important lesson I learned is that I am not always going to be comfortable. That is interesting because it seems like modern society obsesses over comfort. We always want the temperature to be just right. We shudder at the thought of hang nails and sniffles. We are ready to sue if the coffee is too hot or the gazpacho too cold. Wearing galoshes as a kid made me understand that comfort is a bonus, not a right. I’m not always going to experience it.
4. Fashion Is Terribly Overrated
I hated wearing galoshes for several reasons, among them being that I thought they were ugly. Looking back, I now know that my concerns about what they looked like were silly. I learned that fashion is terribly overrated, and that trying to impress people by the way I dress is a waste of time.
5. The Chain of Authority Really Matters
Finally, being forced to wear galoshes helped me to understand that the chain of authority really does matter. I didn’t know at the time, but my parents’ rules were put in place for my own good. Likewise, the rules that govern society are for our own good. We do not always appreciate them. We don’t always want to follow the chain of authority but, in the end, that chain helps maintain an orderly society in which we can all function.
So there you have it. Who knew that a simple pair of galoshes could teach so many important life lessons? I didn’t know it 50 years ago, but I know it now.