Friday, March 29, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen

Spring 2013

  "Well isn't today just beautiful?!" I couldn't help but asking myself as I walked to work this morning.  The sun is out (I think you'll notice a common trend that I happen to love it when the sun is out.), the trees are green, there's no snow, and it is just radiant outside today!  (Seriously. I forgot my sunglasses, and my eyes are secretly hating me for it.)  Today, my message for you is about not just love, but about life.  What exactly though?  (I know...ALL of my messages are about the same kind of thing ;) )  
Today I want to address the idea of being 
ladies and gentlemen.  

What does this even mean in our culture today?  Now think about that question for a minute.  Were you raised to be a lady or a gentleman?  I'm talking to you ladies out there, and do you think of yourself?  How do you think of the men in your life?  In our world today, there is evidence on top of evidence suggesting the loss of this concept.  Take a look at the article excerpt from Leonard Sax's "Ladies and Gentlemen, Skanks and Pimps."  (I'm sorry for those words...but it is the article title.)

     "The New York Times recently published a column by Lynn Messina, a regular contributor, in which she complained about her preschool teaching her 4-year-old son something about what it means to be a gentleman. Ms. Messina was upset that her preschool would dare to use the word “gentleman.” In Ms. Messina’s opinion, teaching girls and boys to be Ladies and Gentlemen is a “first lesson in sexism.” She admits that when she shares her concern with other parents, not all agree. “What’s the harm in teaching little boys to respect little girls?” they ask. I would ask the same question. If you fail to teach little boys to respect little girls, some years later you are likely to have teenage boys who do not respect teenage girls."

    Apparently, we shouldn't even be teaching children about ladies and gentlemen! Let me ask, what happened to this ideal that used to be such a part of our society?  I was so saddened as I read this full article, that I made up my mind to write a post about it.  

     I was raised in a very traditional, religious, southern family.  That being said, I love everyone I meet, and I was also raised to never hold prejudices against ANYONE, regardless of color, sexual orientation, background, or political party. I want to make it plain though, that while I will never discriminate against those of homosexual orientation, I do not agree with, nor will ever support homosexuality.  I have had many friends who are gay or lesbian, and I have never loved them any less. I would like for you to bear this in mind, as I discuss my views on this Ladies and Gentlemen issue, since I will only refer to love and marriage in a traditional sense.  If that offends you, I am very sorry that it does, and I hope you will continue to read other blog posts that don't.  It is not my intention to offend, but I want it clear where I stand.  

     Growing up, my mother relentlessly enforced the ideals of being a "little lady," and "would a princess act that way?"  I can remember kicking my childhood best friend Christopher Stewart in his "man parts", and my mother about lost her marbles.  In addition to that, I was always splashing in the creek, coming home mud-streaked, and saying whatever was on my mind.  After each of these episodes (nearly every day) my mom would sit down with me, and discuss the importance of acting like a lady, and emphasizing that I could still have fun, but I needed to do it in the right time and place, and respect other ladies and gentlemen. 

     My mother taught me to say kind things, help others in need, and dress in an appropriate manner.  She taught me how to have tact, and hold my head up high, no matter how someone's biting words hurt. She taught me how to keep my composure, and how to act like a LADY. I have carried these principles with me as I have grown, and work to show others that today, I am the LADY she wanted me to be. Do you act like a lady?  

It's not just about femininity, it's about 
professionalism, tact and composure

     Now, with all of that in let me ask you my REAL question- do you LOOK for a GENTLEMAN?  If you already have a sweetheart, do you TREAT him like a GENTLEMAN?  This is our job as women.  We act like ladies, they treat us like ladies.  We find a gentleman, and we treat him as such.  How should a gentleman be treated though?  I'm not talking about doing the "make-me-a-sandwich" kind of things. Here's a list of questions to ask yourself, because as a LADY, it is my responsibility to treat my gentleman as such, and it's yours too.

1. Do you treat him with the same respect you would your father?

2. Do you allow him to act as a gentlemen?
     *Letting him open the door for you
     *Letting him pay
     *Letting him pull out your chair
3. Do you LET him protect you from harm?
4. Do you let him compliment you?
5. Do you try to "out-do" him? Stop.
6. Do you let him take care of you when you're sick or hurt?
7. Do you take his arm, and allow him to take the lead? (Not just in dancing)
8. Do you let him surprise you?
9. Do you make him feel love in return?

     If we fail to do these things as women, 
men will fail to treat us this way.  
Every girl wants to be treated like a lady, but we have to let our men do so.  There is nothing wrong with being a strong, independent woman, but if a man never feels as though he can be the gentleman, and take care of you, then why will he continue to try? A major portion of being a lady is allowing gentlemen to act AS GENTLEMEN.  I've seen dozens of Facebook statues, and Pinterest quotes, and news articles asking the SAME QUESTION: "What happened to good old fashioned gentlemen?"  Well women...I fear we have driven them away and forgotten their importance to us.  

    I challenge you (I will always have a challenge for you), be a lady, and allow your man to be a gentle one.  Let him do these things for you, and then allow him to feel loved in return. Do things for him, surprise him, THANK HIM, and most of all, let him know how loved he is.  

    Ask yourself if you act like a lady, with tact, composure, compassion and professionalism?  You don't have to sacrifice independence and originality for these things. In no way am I suggesting that we put back on 50 layers of skirts, and give up the right to vote. But I am telling you, it's OKAY to be a LADY.  It's about being respectful and respected in return; respected by the men we want to be GENTLEMEN.

      I know I can be better at being a lady, and letting Eric always be the gentleman.  He gets on me for it all the time!!  We can all be better.  So how will it be for you?  I'm holding myself accountable here.  I want to make sure that I can answer all of my own questions appropriately. 

    Think about it. Read up more on it if you want, and finish that article I posted.  Decide what is of value to you, and what isn't.  Most of a lady, and let him be a gentleman. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Speaking of Priorities

 April 2013
    Good Afternoon lovely readers! It has been just about insanity the past couple of weeks as the final inning begins.  My last exams are less than a month away at this point, and like the other millions of college students, I'm starting to feel the pressure. When it gets to this point in the semester, I tend to turn into a blond Hermione Granger. 
"What am I studying for? Are you crazy? You realize we need to pass these exams to get into the second year? They're very important, I should have started studying a month ago, I don't know what's gotten into me ..."

     Suffice it to say that, yes...I become a bit busy during the final weeks of the semester.  In addition to that, I've been busying myself with a few new things.  (Songs will follow me)  I've recently decided it's high time I found myself a boyfriend.  So after a long wait of about a year and half, I finally brainwashed my best friend into dating me.  Just kidding of course, I didn't have to brainwash him.  Things are going swimmingly, and I'm sure as the weeks dwindle down and that spring air fills my head, you'll be seeing more and more posts about what this relationship is teaching me, and the songs I've written about it.  BUTTT for just a teensy preview- his name is Eric, and he is (in short) absolutely wonderful.

Today what I really want to address is Priorities.  I work at the Career and Academic Success Center at BYU, and priorities are something we cover in almost every study skill lesson we teach.  What even are priorities???  According to


the state or quality of being earlier in time, occurrence, etc.
the right to precede others in order, rank, privilege, etc.; precedence.
the right to take precedence in obtaining certain supplies, services, facilities, etc., especially during a shortage.
something given special attention.
To put it in layman's terms...priorities are the things that matter most to us.  We are often asked what they are, and have we sat down and written them out?  As a college students, it's just about vital for me to recognize them, and focus my time around them.  But what about for younger students, or older parents?  Are priorities important at that age too?? YES!

In psychology there is a principle we learn about called "Relational Importance."  What that means is, where you spend your time is where your heart lies.  Are you spending the bulk of your time on things that truly matter to you, your goals, your dreams, or are you allowing time to slip away and fade into yesterday?  I'm asking you to sit down and honestly evaluate yourself.  Where do you spend the most amount of your time?  Is it work?  Class?  Boyfriend?  Shopping?  Pinterest?  

When I was asked to do this very thing, I found that I spend the most amount of my time focusing on school and work.  I asked that really where my top priorities are? No.  I sat down and made a list of my priorities.  This is my list, (Yes I'm willing to share! It's basic, but you get the idea)

Spiritual Well-being

     I am a very spiritual person.  This is my top priority because it is my Heavenly Father who has given me all that I am, and guides my footsteps every day.  I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I want to live my life in such a way that everyone knows that and never doubts it.  Regardless of my personal beliefs, I feel that the spiritual well-being of every person is important.
Family & Sweetheart
     This is one of my top priorities because my life would be empty without my family.  My family makes up a network of supporters, best friends, fans, and loving advice-givers.  I am ridiculously close to my siblings and my parents.  I believe in Eternal families, and therefore they take precedence over most other priorities of mine.  I believe in constantly nurturing those relationships I have with them.
     In addition to family, I place my sweetheart as a high priority as well.  Love is all about caring for the other person above yourself, and therefore I strive to make sure he is doing well and is taken care of.
Self-improvement & Goals
     As an individual and an intellectual, I believe in constant progression.  Yes, sometimes progression is slower than others, but there should always be growth.  I heard once that life is like a down escalator.  If you're not moving, it's moving down.  If you're working hard, and pushing yourself, you can continue to improve, even when faced with resistance.  I look for ways to educate myself about the world, and people, as well as help the lives of others.  I also work towards my talents and career goals, as I try to better myself.
People & Friends
     After my top three priorities, people and friends in general will always come next.  I LOVE people, and I LOVE helping people.  I listen, I advise, I help them burn old stuff, I'm a shoulder to cry on.  No matter what kind of homework is pressing on my time, I will always make room if a person comes to me. 
     Because I love people so much,  serving people is vitally important to my life.  It's not a self-fulfilling kind of thing, rather just that I genuinely love to serve, and feel useless if I'm not serving in some way.  I guess you could say I have a giant hero-complex.  People are my passion, and helping them is my obsession.
Finding Inspiration
     Life is difficult.  I find you can't do anything else if you have no motivation or inspiration.  So as an individual who is constantly trying to grow and help others... I look for inspiration everywhere.  I look for the random flower that makes my day brighter, and in turn it becomes a priority for me to show it to others, and find it myself.  Life is about winning the small day-to-day battles. 
     I am a student at BYU studying Therapeutic Recreation, and therefore school is important to me, but I believe that education is more than just schooling.  It's a combination of experiences, people, and how you react to them that creates a sound education for an individual.  
     I am very devoted to living a healthy life-style and re-defining for myself and other women what health and beauty is.  I work towards loving the blessing of a body I have been given every single day.  Good food, lots of exercise, and (trying really hard) getting enough sleep.  These are essential to a healthy and happy lifestyle, decreasing stress, and being prepared to enjoy everything else in life. 
     Working is in my top ten priorities because if there is something to do, it is worth doing well.  I work almost every week day, and I thoroughly enjoy what I do. 
     Leisure is not something I really get to enjoy as much during the week, and since serving and people and educating myself are more important to me- when I have spare time, it's usually full of those.  (especially the people) However, it is really nice every now and then to read a book or watch an episode of my favorite shows. :) Relaxation is essential a happy life, and so it's definitely A priority, just no the top one.

So now that you know my priorities, I can attest that those are the areas 

 I devote my life to.  I wish I could say I devoted as much time to my number one priority as I do to school or work, but it is what is in my heart.  I challenge you to sit down and make a list of where you spend the bulk of your time, and then make a list of where you WANT to, and WHY, and then determine how those two can meet in the middle.  This will help lead to a happier and more productive lifestyle, at EVERY AGE!  

Have a wonderful day, and happy prioritizing!