Act like a lady

How many times did I hear my Mom tell my sisters; "you have to act like a lady for people to think of you as a lady"...or something really close to that.

Now, I grew up in the South in the 60's and 70's and "ladies" were abundant. Hats and gloves were out of style for my Mom's generation, but for the generation before, there were still plenty of hat and glove ladies. Ladies that sat at table with their ankles crossed. Ladies who always knew what went with what and who always looked perfectly put together when they left the house. A bit of powder, a touch of rouge, a pale lipstick and perfect hair (usually tinted blue or pink). Not many of that kind of old school lady left, although we do on occassion encounter one in daily life.

Now, for me anyway, a lady is defined more by how she acts than how she looks. And, that kind of lady is abundant around us. Ladies that know what is right and who know what is wrong and who still consider what others might think before they act. Ladies who are strong enough to let their own self respect and confidence guide the decisions they make. Those are the things I want to teach my daughter.

This morning we had to have the discussion about self respectful behavior. We regularly preach self confidence and leadership as opposed to following, but self respect is something we more assume than expect because she seems so confident around us. But, there was an incident at camp yesterday that was not an example of self respectful behavior.

I've tried the whole "act like a lady" schpiel and you can imagine the deaf ears that went with the rolled eyes. I think I like the self respect angle better. I mean, we can show her how to look like a lady and how to hide her less appealing features...hey, every drag queen shows that a big head needs big hair. But, as far as acting like a lady? That's not really either of our strongpoint.

But, if I change the lesson to "act self respectful", I can be a role model on that. I may not be able to help her put on eye makeup, but having little respect for myself and letting myself be used and then finding my self respect and happiness; those are things I can talk about and things I can model just by living the way I do. Just by sharing the stories of my past.

What I've learned about parenting is that my best lessons are by example. To teach that change is possible, I had to model change and that meant actually changing. To teach consequences, I've had to let her see the consequences of my actions as well as experience the consequences of her actions. And, to teach her to act like a lady, I have to model self respectful behavior.
Okay, so that bit of way back wednesday wisdom is my last post for a couple days. Everybody take care. I've had to promise Rob that I won't use a rotary cutter or sewing machine for two days. He's asking for a hand written sign; "I promised I would listen to Rob" with my signature so he can flash it at me any time I think I can do something dangerous on pain meds. Hey, Friday, he goes back to work. What he don't know won't scare him.

I know that I promised myself I'd quilt feathers this week, but I have been bad. All I've worked on is a shirt for Rob. Can't wait to show it off and I never got around to showing off the one I made for myself last week.

Take care and I'll be back this weekend. Lane


Vesuviusmama said...

You are right - "act like a lady" doesn't work these days. There are really mixed messages out there about what that means. I guess because my mom was a bit of an activist/feminist, a "woman" was what I aspired to be, not a "lady". Somehow, a woman had more self-respect and independence than a lady. Anyway, modeling behavior is always good. Hope you don't really need the pain meds - look forward to hearing from you again in a few.

lw said...

My mom was a real lady-- she was gracious and thoughtful and really kind. One Christmas, my brother in law brought a stripper as his date, and Mom poured her coffee and brought her pie and sat and visited without any judgement whatever. The girl had tears in her eyes when she told me about it later, she didn't expect to be treated like family. I wish I was half the lady she was.

Paul said...

Good Luck with your surgery. I'll say a prayer or two for you.

Enjoy the break and honor your promise to Rob... It's another life lesson for Sydney...

Take Care,

Crunchy Diva said...

you are so correct modeling is the best way to teach how to be a 'lady' or have respect for yourself. good luck with your surgery.

INKcredible Girl said...

I love the self respect idea I might just have to borrow that phrase thanks Lane. Hope you have a speedy recovery and please show us your shirt!

Pauline said...

If you can't or don't respect yourself, how can you expect others to respect you? This goes for both ladies and gentlemen. Both are scarce commodities.

woolywoman said...

I learned this one from another parent: what would you think about this if you read the story in the news? Or heard about this behavior from a friend? Would you think they were being dumb? My son will now say this back to me.

Churn Dash said...

A friend decided that after a colonoscopy in the morning that she was feeling just fine, and spent time quilting in the afternoon. She didn't hurt herself, but she quilted with complete abandon writing her name over the quilt.
Best keep safe, Lane. Good luck with the surgery.