Things Your Father Wants You To Know #5 ~ Be A Man

That is a loaded concept in our culture. In the time of our fathers it meant things like always walking on the street side of a date so her dress doesn’t get splashed, and going down in a fight when someone slighted you, your wife, your girl, your family in any way. In many ethnic groups it meant revenge and in America generally it meant that men didn’t whine about feelings or express emotion in any significant way.

The world has changed a lot in some ways and not so much in others. You should still walk on the street side of a date and do old fashioned things like opening doors and at least offering to pay on a date. The other stuff is not so simple to figure out.

Fighting is not the first best way to defend yourself. If you or someone you love is wounded by words, then it takes a big man to ignore those words, reject those words and walk away from the speaker. If the wounds are caused by “hate words”, towards you or anyone, it takes a courageous man to speak up against those words, to refuse to allow hate speech to go unanswered. If someone violates what you believe in, it takes conviction to stand up for your principles. This last will be tested many times over in your lifetime. How you live your principles is one definition of what it takes to be a real man.

If you are attacked physically, use your mind first and then, if you must, fight back. If you can walk away from a fight, do it. But always defend those weaker and more helpless than you are. You have always stood up for friends or others you thought were being mistreated, never stop doing this; it makes a difference in the world, in people’s lives.

We have already talked about loving with all your heart. Be a generous lover (see your Grandmother’s advice!). Marry someone you would die protecting, that’s how you know its real; you will understand this when you have children because they are the only people you would choose over your partner if you had to make the choice. Protect those children fiercely and without reservation no matter what the personal cost; they will always remember that you did.

Make up your own mind about everything. Read, research, discuss whatever it is you want to know about and then make a decision. There are almost no irrevocable decisions in this life and you will make ones that turn out to be wrong. It takes a real man to admit a mistake, learn from it and move on. Nobody escapes mistakes but many people make the same ones over and over. Don’t just take the advice of your friends who probably have not done the research; or of anyone else unless you respect the depth of their knowledge. Have your own opinions and be gracious about listening to those of others, you might learn something.

Don’t be afraid to feel and don’t be afraid to show it. There is a time for emotions and feelings and a time not. Keep your feelings to yourself at work, most jobs value your intellect and your opinions about the job, not so much your feelings. In your personal relationships, let those feelings out, they matter and will make you a much more attractive man.

Real men love with open hearts and show it; real men use their brains and not their fists whenever possible; real men fight for what they believe in; real men are all different, not cut from some cultural mold that told them what to be. Real men are fully their own selves ~ so be a man.

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Practical Advice For My Son #2 ~ How To Use The Washer

I wouldn’t normally do two practical things in a row, but in an homage to a commenter, I felt compelled to write this. A man I don’t know commented that I should tell my son how to run laundry because most men don’t really know how to use a washer or a dryer. His comment was that these machines should be shaped like women!

So here goes. First, there is never a real need to use hot water, warm will always do. Saves money, saves the environment. Second, don’t put your wadded up, inside out, socks and pants in the washer without unwadding, unfolding and generally right side outing everything (except black which I will get to in a minute). Check your pockets, we have washed a lot of IDs, licenses, important school papers, money, over the years. You never know when you might want that phone number and once its washed you can’t read it.

Since you will always use Shaklee (purchased, of course, from your mother) you will put one to two ounces of laundry soap in the bottom of the washer along with a small scoop of laundry booster. Turn on the water, let everything dissolve. Separate light and dark and very heavy items (do these in their own load, like the towels). If you have new colored clothing, do it separately or only with like colors. If you have nice new blacks, turn them inside out to wash, it will preserve the black. Make sure you do your sheets and towels at least once a week! If you like softener, put the correct measure of softener in the post. Set the water level to the size load and put on regular wash, no need for extra rinses.

Put your clothes in the dryer with a dryer sheet (recyclable of course) and set on either regular or permanent press (for synthetics, dress shirts/pants, blends, things you would prefer not to have shrink like favorite t-shirts, regular for jeans, underwear, socks, towels, etc.) There is never a need to use high heat. If you use dryer balls you will shorten drying time, save on electricity and lessen wrinkles. If you don’t know what they are or where to get them, look it up on the internet, a skill I know you have. If you take your clothes out as soon as they are dry and fold or hang, you will reduce your ironing by a lot. Remember, most things will smooth out nicely when removed warm and treated right. And that doesn’t just go for laundry.

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