Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Luck Be A Lady?

I am a girl (stick with me here), I have a mom who is a girl, and two grandmothers who are girls. Oh, and one more thing, I have a daughter who is a girl. The point?
We are all ladies as well. What does that mean? (I am SO glad you asked...)
I was born in 1976 to parents with very little money. My dad worked hard and steady for more than 20 years in manual labor, setting aside his own dreams for a technology career until my brother, sister and I were grown. My mom was a stay at home mom and music teacher. We were working poor. But the women in my family were/are ladies.  What is the difference between a woman and a lady?  I have thought about this quite a bit, and this is the conclusion I have come to.
*A lady speaks gently.
*A lady dresses appropriately for the occasion.
*A lady cares for her possessions.
*A lady has manners.
*A lady is not characterized by laziness.
*A lady is well-read, and can converse on many topics.

True life example: When I was growing up and needed a new pair of shoes, said shoes were not rushed out and purchased from the nearest discount store. The money was saved, and it was a treat to go have feet measured and quality shoes purchased and cared for to last as long as possible (with the possibility of being handed down to the nearest cousin or sibling.) I remember many Saturday nights of polishing shoes for church on Sunday, adults included. We did not have a large quantity of items in the closet, but what we had was good quality and well-cared for.

The same goes for character qualities. We were taught to be kind to those around us by the example of others. My grandparents had little money, but were always gracious to host friends and family in their home, and left behind a reputation of generosity. (One friend tells the story of starting his own painting business, which was helped along by the gift of a small truck given by my grandfather.) My grandmothers did not go anywhere without being clean and neat, and there was usually a swipe of lipstick involved.

I was also taught good manners. Being raised in the South, we learned "Yes, Ma'am," and "No, Ma'am." As well as the tone in which to speak respectfully. If an adult stepped into the room, we stood and gave up our seat. If a grandparent had a need, we were quick to respond and help. This was also true in regard to authority. If a teacher called about our bad behavior, no excuses were made, and the problem was dealt with, and an apology to the teacher was required. Yes, good manners also means humility, and having the grace to apologize when neccesary.

As I became an adult, I recognized the manner in which I was raised, and was incredibly thankful. I also determined to instill the same good qualities in my children.  It takes much discipline, but I am thankful and happy to be able to say that my children are a genuine pleasure to be with (that's saying a lot, because two of the four are teenagers!). They have manners and respect, and can converse easily with adults. (Which seems to be a dying art these days.) My daughter stands out from the girls that surround her as she is grounded and calm, and generally what I call "classy."

Does this mean you set aside your sense of humor? Not at ALL! We love to laugh! It is healing to our soul. But not at the expense of another, and not at crude humor either. Genuine laughter and happiness spills up from your soul, as a result of a purpose-filled life. A dedication to your calling and a general desire to help others and be kind.
Dress: Anthropologie, Refined Cord Shirtdress
Tank: Gap
Tights: Banana Republic, dotted tights
Boots: DSW, Audrey Brooke
Belt: Thrifted
Bracelet: J Crew, Studded Leather Wrap

What does it mean to you to be a lady?

No comments:

Post a Comment