heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 4 of 7: “If you’re a man, be a gentleman…”

blueborder

This year, my New Year’s “Revelations” are based on some of the witticisms and words of wisdom that my mother and father imparted to me.

When I was young, I used to roll my eyes and shake my head at them – not really heeding their words.

Or so I thought.

They’ve since passed, and not a day goes by that I don’t miss them.

Most importantly, their words – often colourful and humorous, but always spot-on – resonate deeply with me today.

I now share them with you.

blueborder

My father used to say:

“If you’re a man, be a gentleman – always. If you’re a woman, be a lady – not a strumpet.”

My father was the quintessential Gentleman. When he  went for a stroll with my mother, he would always walk on the  curb side of the sidewalk – to protect my mother from passing cars or rain puddle splashes.  He would open doors for her, sit her down on a chair before seating himself, exit a bus or train first and then extend his hand to help her down, and he would always (without hesitation or a word of complaint) wash the dishes after she cooked us one of her savoury meals.

He was most certainly NOT a male chauvinist.  He was a gentleman – in the old-fashioned sense.  There is a difference. And he dressed impeccably – complete with a perfectly pressed handkerchief in his pocket. No kleenex or tissues for him!

His behaviour and manners taught me what I should expect of a man. That’s a long, tall order in this day and age.  However, when he met my husband (at that time, my boyfriend) for the first time in 1979, I could see that he approved.  How could he not?  Their characters were similar in many ways.

And, yes, of course my husband is a gentleman. He doesn’t use handkerchiefs, but he always sports a very nice hat.

My father expected the men in his household (he and my brother) to be gentlemen and the women (wife and daughters) to comport themselves like ladies. My mother was very much a lady.

Although our manners are ladylike, my sister and I are products of the Baby Boomer generation and when we started wearing jeans…. well, all hell broke loose in the household.  I remember my father lecturing me about how slovenly and unladylike jeans were.  Try as he might, he could not come to peace with modern casual wear.  If he were alive today and saw some of the skimpy, body-clinging dresses that a lot of young women wear…. he would be speechless (with horror).  He would probably prefer jeans to some of their outfits (er, fabric swatches).

Are gentlemen a dying breed?  I don’t think so.

Just the other day, I was on a MetroRail during rush hour.  The train was packed with people and there was standing room only. A young man – twentysomething – stood up, smiled at me and asked me to take his seat.  I gave him one of my most radiant smiles, thanked him and sat down.

His parents taught him well.

In my generation, women were fighting for their positions in professions like law, medicine, engineering and business. Unfortunately, some women felt that they had to be hard and aggressive in order to compete and excel in their fields.  Many mistook gentlemanly overtures for male chauvinism and, as a result, they rejected any gesture that would differentiate the genders.

Well, be careful what you wish for, ladies. If you don’t want a man to be a gentleman, then he won’t be.

This twentysomething generation, however, never ceases to amaze and impress me. They don’t have the gender struggle of the Baby Boomers.  Today, most professions enjoy a fairly even ratio of men to women. And for the most part, these young men and women are polite, respectful, environmentally conscious, and have a sense of family, community and an interest the world at large.

So there is hope.

And, as far my father (my darling Daddy) – thank you for being such an exemplary role model.

Would you be proud of me today? I’d like to think so.

Except that I do curse a lot.  That would be a big no-no in your books.

I’m trying to curb that.  Miracles don’t happen overnight.

 

 

Images via Crazyyetwise.files.wordpress.com and akrasakis.blogspot.com.

 

Juggling writing time between multiple book projects

Sometimes I think I’ve fallen off that precarious balancing beam – from possessing a modicum of sanity to diving head first into a state of complete and utter madness.  The reason?  I am juggling multiple book projects. Thank goodness I’m compulsively organized, because the only way to handle the work load (without sacrificing creativity) is to compartmentalize my time.

Yes, compartmentalization is the way I am able to maintain my sanity – relatively speaking.  But it would be remiss for me not to mention the occasional help I receive from Mr. Glen Livet and Mr. Mac Allan!

h.f.t.g. taking some quiet “me” time with Mr. Mac Allan
and enjoying a stogie, in between intense writing sessions

(Note: the photographer is also partaking in some libation!) 

So, here’s the plan. As mentioned in my inaugural blog post, “Finding Grace” (the Novel) is set for release sometime in 2013.  In tandem, I’m writing a series of four non-fiction books targeted to the Baby Boomer generation.  I’m a quarter of the way through the first, entitled “When The Child Becomes The Parent,”  and am hoping to release this book by the end of 2012 (fingers crossed).  By setting an aggressive schedule, I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself – in an effort to battle my most dreaded enemy: Procrastination.

Here’s a sneak peek of the book summary (which will be located in the  book’s inside left flap) – as well as  the book cover design:

“We are the Baby Boomer Generation. That makes us forty-something, fifty-something and sixty-something.  Our parents and beloved aunts or uncles are in their twilight years. They need our help. The measure of a person is the degree to which she treats her fellow men and women with respect, kindness, compassion and – to those close – love.   Why do we all too often forget to tender the same treatment to our elderly? They are supposed to be our nearest and dearest. They gave us Life!  The child must now step up to the plate and become the parent.  

No one wants to reach the end of life’s journey and suddenly become a burden to their family or friends.  Perhaps we might find it helpful to see the world from their perspective and accord them the dignity they so rightly deserve.  Perhaps we should not be so overwhelmed or impatient with them and maybe we should shift our fear-of-aging mindset a bit.  After all, shouldn’t we consider it a privilege to help them through this final chapter of their lives?

This is a gentle guide on how to care for the elderly loved ones in your family – from home care to hospice care to preparing for death.  The author will also share stories about some of her own experiences – both deeply sad and delightfully humorous.

She is fifty-something, by the way and, yes, a Baby Boomer.”

Copyright © 2010-2011 Heather Joan Marinos – All Rights Reserved.

— To all the writers out there who are juggling multiple book projects – courage, my friends!  We will all complete our books and, once we do, we will very likely move onto the next project.  Are we masochists? No. We simply love what we do.
And that’s a good thing.

Image (top) via Sarparker.com.