What are our p’s and q’s and why do we have to mind them?

I have no idea why, but the old expression ‘mind your p’s and q’s’ came to mind this morning.  I looked up the origin of this phrase and found that there are several different possible explanations.  One has to do with printing.  Since each letter was chosen individually, it was easy to confuse a p with a q because basically they are mirror images of each other.  Another had to do with pints and quarts and bars, need I say more?  And a few more were listed.

Whichever you may think is correct, there is a life lesson to be gleaned.  In the first, pay attention to the details.  Don’t get so caught up in the motion that you lose sight of the motive.  Great lenten reminder – remember the reason behind the lenten promise.  It’s not to award yourself the ‘I did it’ prize on Easter morning, it’s more like the ‘Can you help me, can we do this together?’ invitation that God so desires.

And, for the pints and quarts theory – well, sometimes, less is really more.  It’s the little gestures, the moments when we turn to God throughout our day that are so important.  Sitting in prayer is necessary but if that is the only time when we think of God, then we are missing him in the many times he comes to us throughout our days.    His ever present presence.

Today I woke with the expression….’mind your p’s and q’s.  Isn’t it amazing that everything can have spiritual connotations?

16 thoughts on “What are our p’s and q’s and why do we have to mind them?

  1. Oh I love the first explanation of the expression. It reminds of my childhood and my dilemma about the d and b. Every time I had to think of the way the its “belly” was supposed to face 🙂

    Your reflection is very insightful. God’s presence is every where and every day.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my story.



  2. I’ve often heard this phrase, but never knew its origin. When we do understand where certain words and phrases come from, it’s somehow easier to live them in our own lives, and really appreciate them as we do.

  3. My children and students have decided that us ‘religious people’ manage to see God stuff in everything!! They may not have meant it as a compliment but I took it as one.
    Another example of mindfulness…

  4. Hi Andie, with me it is always song lyrics that greet me in the morning. I don’t know why but usually there is a song that pops in my head almost the second I get up. This morning it was from 70 song Leader of the Band….”My life has been a poor attempt, to imitate the man” Made me think of my attempts to “Imitate Christ” Maybe that should be a post!!!


  5. So very interesting!

    and I do love the way the Holy Spirit leads us through seemingly common everyday things into a place of communion.

    i enjoyed this very much.

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