I was doing some research for a Robbie Burns night and I came across some old magazine articles and movies from the 1950s. The article was reportedly a piece that appeared in a women’s magazine in 1955 titled ‘The Good Wife’s Guide,’ and lays out 18 points on how a wife should manage the home to please her husband and family.
Some of you are now saying, “Jim don’t go there, this will not end well, you will get nasty letters.” But fear not, because this is Robbie Burns week. I will make this a Toast to the Lassies.
Life has changed over the last few decades and I have many fine women in my life who have made me who I am today, in spite of my efforts to thwart their attempts.
The legend Burns left behind was that of a womanizer who fathered 16 or more children by five or more women, with little concern for their welfare. One story goes that he came downstairs one night, putting on his hat and coat, and told his wife he was going to the pub and she should put on a hat, coat and boots. “Am I going with you?” she asked. “No,” he replied, “I’m turning the heat down.”
He believed that if he treated them badly, then wrote them a poem, everything would be just fine. That may have worked back then but it doesn’t work now. Trust me.
Of course I must toast my mother who disciplined, encouraged, scolded, advised, cheered and prayed. Each one of those slices of attention were dispensed at the appropriate time and I am better for all that.
I attended a workshop on ethics once. The flip charts were full of ideas about what was ethical and what wasn’t. Then one guy softly said, “ When I’m about to do something, I stop and think about how I would explain this to my mother.” The discussion ended there.
Today’s working mom takes a lot of flack and we regularly hear terms like, dysfunctional family and latchkey kids. Yet I personally know many single mothers who have raised great kids alone while working and taking them to many extracurricular activities. If her kids excel, they very seldom make the news or the front page. I have great admiration for these women and I raise a glass to their spirit and determination.
A recent article I read, written by a woman, suggested that men were becoming obsolete and women were gradually assuming positions of power. I have worked and still do work with many strong women who are executive directors, administrative assistants, managers, or business owners. I have learned much from them and the most powerful of them are the women that could work alongside me. They do not try to make the men in their lives feel powerless or obsolete. I toast their courage and their wisdom and I would follow them without question.
I have used up too much space to get into my personal relationships. But I would be remiss not to acknowledge that in relationships, bad times don’t last forever and good times don’t last forever. I toast the ladies that shared and taught and made me stronger and I apologize to those for whom I thought a poem would fix everything.
To the Lassies! We would be less without them. At least that’s what McGregor says.