I recently read a story about how we get pulled into yesterday each time we follow the sage advice of our parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents.

Do you ever find yourself — at 30, 40, or 50 years of age — still carrying through on that advice?

For the longest time into my adulthood I didn’t go outside for fear that I’d “catch my death of cold.”  Same with going outside barefoot in the winter.

To this day I still want to throw salt over my right shoulder (or is it my left?) after knocking over the salt shaker because Grandma said it would keep evil spirits away.

I wonder what Grandma would say about the salty evil spirits I’ve consumed?

How about the universal rule that you shouldn’t wear white before Easter or after Labor Day?

Or–you’ll go blind if you sit too close to the “television set,” but maybe that had something to do with picture tubes.  (Blindness is also attributed to another rite of childhood, but we won’t talk about that one here!)

There is no denying that we bring the yarns of youth with us into adulthood.  The question is, how much do we allow them to influence our adult lives?

Do you follow along because “it’s always been done that way?”  Or, do you plow a new field of independent thinking?

Here are nine old wives’ tales that have been debunked over the years.  You’ve probably heard them all, and may even know they are untrue.  But do you still practice them?

    1. Never go swimming after eating.

    Truth: The American Red Cross reports that there is no increased risk in cramping if you’ve consumed food prior to swimming.

    1. Chocolate causes acne.  Truth:  No food type causes zits, although too much of any food is not good for the body.
    2. Eat carrots, have great vision. Truth: I can speak to this one directly. Mom fed me so much baby carrot food that I turned jaundiced. And I’ve worn glasses since the 4th grade.
    3. If you crack your knuckles, you’ll get arthritis. Truth: Not true, although my thumb joint wonders sometimes . . .
    4. Eating spicy foods can cause ulcers. Truth: Spicy foods CAN irritate ulcers (again, the voice of experience), but not cause.
    5. If you touch a toad, you’ll get warts. Truth:  Nope . . . warts are caused by viruses, not critters.
    6. Coffee stunts your growth. Truth:  While kids shouldn’t have caffeine in their diets, it won’t stunt your growth.  Oddly, my grandfather told me it would put hair on my chest–that’s not true either!
    7. If you cross your eyes, they’ll stay that way. Truth: Why kids do this is really beyond me, but again, not true. Misaligned eyes is called strabismus, but crossing your eyes does not cause the disorder.
    8. Feed a cold/starve a fever. Truth: Wrong in both cases. It’s never good to deprive your body of nourishment when you’re sick nor is it advisable to overeat simply because you’re sick!

    Knowing they’re not true, have you spoken any of these tales to your  children or grandchildren?  If you haven’t, congratulations!  If you have, you might want to think about how you allow your past to influence your presence AND what message you’re sending to your kids.

    Words are powerful and teaching them to make good decisions based on facts rather than falsehoods is a tremendous gift to developing minds. Food for thought for the next time it rains, or you encounter a toad or the kids want to go swimming.

    (Photo credit: Art via Shutterstock)

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