Friday, August 01, 2008

Words of Wisdom from a Wise Woman

This week I’m coming to you live from the RWA conference in San Francisco!!! I am having such a blast! The workshops are great, the writers are great, the parties are great, the bar is… well, you get the idea. ;) I’ll give all of you a full recap when I get back, but at the moment my brain is on absolute conference overload. So, in place of your regularly scheduled Gemmaness, I’m bringing you something even better today – my mommy! Enjoy her words of wisdom to women everywhere.
And if any of you happen to also be in SF this week, be sure to come to our workshop tomorrow morning at 8:30am. Christie, Leslie, Jana, and I – along with fellow Dorchester author, Even Kenin and editor Leah Hultenschmidt – will be talking about Hybrid Hype: Genre Defying Blends that Hit the Mark. Hope to see you there!


Sage Advice

Gemma’s away at the RWA conference this week, so I, her dear ol’ mom, am filling in for her. I know we talked about what I would blog about, but I forgot! Dagnagit! (As my dad would say...I was never sure what that meant, but I always understood the tone.)

I recall that Gemma thought I should give some sort of “sage advice.” Very strange, that I’d end up being thought of as having “sage” anything except for the lovely herb growing in my backyard. But here goes. As I approach the big SIX-OH, I’ll try to impart the most important things I’ve learned. Let’s start with MEN.

About men:

I think the best philosophy I’ve ever heard was from Charlotte on Sex and the City. It went something like “how about we just enjoy them as nice things in our lives, and be each others’ soul mates?”

Yes, let your sister, your girlfriend, your children, even your platonic male friends be your soul mates, but don’t count on a sexual partner to do that. It’s too much pressure. Let your boyfriend/husband be the love of your life, but let your best friends be your soul mates. They will be there long after your boyfriend/husband has sailed off to find himself. Husbands are ‘til death (or lack of interest) do we part; friends are forever.

However, as a mother of two grown boys:

Men are human, too. They are vulnerable. They want to be liked, loved even. They are, perhaps, the weaker sex, after all. They need our help, and love and support. They want permission to act like little boys, playing sports or videos games, drinking themselves silly, doing stupid, dangerous things like skydiving or bungee jumping or scuba diving. When they do these things, they want you to applaud their bravery. If you feel you’re up to it, get married.

About internet dating:

You cannot get to know someone through email. Just meet them. Get it over with! You will know more in the first 3 seconds of a meeting than you will in 3 months of emails. Please don’t waste your time in email.

Don’t Google your date. If you do, don’t tell her about it, because she’ll think you’re stalking her and write about it on her blog.

About children:

Children are human, too. Always remember what it was like to be a child. When you feel like punishing your child for something, when you feel it’s your responsibility to punish, recall what it was like to be the one being punished. Did it make you want to be a better person? Did you feel it was just and fair?

I’ll bet “no.”

I don’t believe in punishment beyond a stern look and an expression of extreme disappointment, followed by a heart-to-heart they’ll wish they never had! I have never grounded a child. I never needed to!

I believe in very few, yet very strict, rules. Don’t have more than five rules. Make it very clear that these few rules may NOT BE BROKEN under any circumstances. Honesty must be #1. If you catch a child in a lie, insist on a full confession, and then forgive them. Let it go. We all make mistakes, and the only good thing that can come of them is learning. Tell them that in the future, they should come to you and say, “I’ve made an error in judgment, and I feel I need to share it with you.” Be their confessor, and be there to guide and forgive.

And, most important, reward them BIGTIME. Reward for good grades in school. (Cash is OK! It’s a bonus for a job well done!) Reward for excellence wherever they manage it.

Basically, shame them (followed by love, of course) when they deserve it, and praise them when they earn it. Don’t praise for stupid, little things. If praise comes too easily, they won’t try hard enough.

About parents:

Love them. Realize they, too, are only human. Maybe they aren’t the smartest people in the world. Maybe they’re not even nice sometimes. Maybe their parents did mean and stupid things to them, which they now, without realizing how irrational they are, intend to pass on to you. It’s up to us to break the cycle. We’re the ones, now, who must make the future better than the past.

About parents, children, men, ex-spouses, ex-friends:

Let the past go. Don’t even think about it. We are too busy having a FABULOUS life!

About friends:

Always keep your word. Once you break it, it’s gone forever. If you keep your word and will stay true to your friends, they will be your soul mates forever.

Ok, that’s all I can think of right now, but if anyone has questions for the “sage,” or words of wisdom of their own, please feel free to comment!

~Gemma's Mom


Keri Ford said...

Hey, Gemma's Mom! Wonderful words!

I don’t believe in punishment beyond a stern look and an expression of extreme disappointment

My mom did that and it was terrible! I would be sent to tears by just the look. Now I'm practicing it on my boy. :O)

And Dagnagit is the polite way of saying 'damn it'. At least it is in my neck of the woods!

Anonymous said...

What Keri said! :)

Excellent advice, Gemma's Mom!

catslady said...

Oh, darn, I need a do over! well, I got a lot of it right but I wish I had been able to let things go. I've been reading The New Earth and a lot of what you say is the same! I can see where Gemma gets her sense of humor lol.

Kathy Bacus said...

'Pearls' from Gemma's mum! What a nice way to end the week!

Trust and respect are biggies for me.
With those as cornerstones, most everything else is on pretty good footing.

Thanks for sharing, Gemma's mom!

~Bullet Hole Bacus~