The Standard #5

successUndeterred by difficult obstacles in his path, the accomplished gentleman understands that he must remain true to his beliefs. Resolute in making decisions regarding his future, he does not let circumstances or individuals negatively influence his actions. Doubt can never become a factor, for doubt is a killer of faith and kidnapper of hope. Nevertheless, this gentleman is acutely focused. All challenges are welcomed. He remains remarkably steady, even in the face of naysayers. And even if success does not arrive expeditiously, he understands patience is an ally of diligence. And together, they will bring forth prosperity. Transforming aspirational dreams into reality, this gentleman never betrays his goals. He never betrays his work. And most important, he never betrays himself. Success feels so much better this way.

Style & Substance – Linen Blend Necktie

Richard James Linen NecktieTo be sure, the artful procedure of dressing well can arrive with an array of anxiety and trepidation. And that should not be viewed as uncommon or surprising. The magic of a perfectly coordinated, immaculately fitted ensemble can surely elicit an erroneous perception of sartorial complexity that proves daunting for any gentleman not deeply entrenched in some serious style. Nevertheless, rejoice gentlemen, dressing oneself with a sophisticated hand is not as mentally taxing as it may seem. Sometimes, a mere departure from your sartorial comfort zone is all a gentleman requires to inject elegance into his wardrobe. So, circling back to the aforementioned comfort zone, let’s talk about one – the necktie zone. Now, standard necktie policy dictates the status quo selection of silk as a gentleman’s first choice. However, with spring on the horizon – don’t worry, it’s coming - I implore the gentlemanly audience to introduce a different type of flavor  to knot around their necks – the linen blend necktie.

Now, a linen blend necktie may arrive in a combination of cotton & linen or silk & linen. The percentage of each textile within the necktie will depend on the selected brand. As a personal favorite, I lean towards cotton and linen. So, what are the advantages of a linen blend necktie over a regular silk necktie? Well, none really. It all depends on taste. However, in the spirit of introducing a creative wrinkle – pun intended - to your necktie rotation, a touch of linen will add a lovely, delicately wrinkled texture that will contrast beautifully with a clean, smooth dress shirt. Given the impending season, a gentleman’s options will become plentiful. If I may further suggest, soft pastels in paisley or plaid are great patterns to complement the spring season. And if those are too bold for your palate, a solid necktie is still a great choice as well.

Heritage – Carter G. Woodson

carter g. woodson 2

  • Carter Godwin Woodson was born on December 19, 1875
  • Graduated from Douglass High School in 1897
  • Became principal of Douglass High School in 1900
  • Earned his Bachelor of Literature degree from Berea College in 1903
  • Earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Chicago in 1908.
  • Earned doctorate from Harvard University in 1912
  • Historian, educator, author, publisher, and journalist
  • Founder of Association for the Study of African-American Life and History in 1915
  • Authored The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861 in 1915
  • Founded The Journal of Negro History 1916
  • Became Dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Howard University in 1920
  • Founded The Associated Publishers in 1920
  • Authored The History of the Negro Church in 1922
  • Established Negro History Week in February 1926, which later expanded to Black History Month
  • Authored The Mis-Education of the Negro in 1933
  • Founded the Negro History Bulletin in 1937
  • Died at the age of 74 on April 3, 1950

Daddy Diary – My Best Moments of Being a Dad (Year 1)

Ava & DaddyThis upcoming Sunday, my daughter will finally reach the tender age of one, and it has been a truly amazing experience. I would not trade it in for anything. A question that I received all the time from people was: What is the best part of being a father? Well, that is a tough one to completely nail down. There are many facets that I love and adore dearly. Nevertheless, I have decided to write down some of the best moments that readily come to mind over this past year. So, in no particular order, here are my best moments of being a father during Ava’s first year.

  • That moment when I have retired from work for the day, and as I walk through the door, my daughter will either flash me a big smile from her high chair or crawl over to me and pull herself up on my pants legs – still flashing that big smile.
  • Sleep has been plenty scarce for the past year. Nevertheless, it is always pleasant to be awakened in the morning because your daughter is playing with your face. And as you open your eyes, the first thing you see is a big toothless smile peering at you.
  • And speaking of the scarcity of sleep, sometimes I am also awakened in the middle of the night, as my daughter has sleepily travelled across the bed and found a nice sleeping spot under my armpit.
  • Actually, anytime Ava falls asleep either in my arms, on my chest, or in my lap – the moment is wonderful.
  • Of course, watching Ava reach her milestones (flipping over, crawling, babbling, walking) has been a joy to see. In the back of your mind, you hope and pray that your child’s development proceeds as normal, and presumptuously you assume it will. However, watching the little things finally take shape is truly spectacular. I remember lounging on the couch one afternoon when Ava babbled those words every father anticipates to hear: Dada. Of course she hadn’t made the connection between her babble to the gentleman that was holding her. Nevertheless it made my heart melt with happiness.
  • Given my work schedule, I am the last one out of the house. Thus, I have been assigned the task of getting Ava ready in the morning. And so, we have developed our own little morning routine as I hustle to get us both ready for the day. Whether we sing along with Doc McStuffins’ toy check-ups or dive adventurously into the car seat on our way to daycare; each morning is a different, exciting experience that I love having with my daughter.
  • I would be terribly remiss if I excluded Kenny G from this post. Mr. G. was instrumental during Ava’s early, early weeks of bedtime. Although we don’t listen to Kenny quite as often now, it is amazing to see Ava’s eyes light up and flap her arms when she hears the first few notes of “Alone” kick in.
  • And when Kenny G is not around for any assistance, Ava sometimes sucks on her 2 middle fingers on one hand and tugs on my beard as she goes to sleep with the other hand. Cute.
  • Now, Ava does cry. Sometimes – a lot. I found out early on that she likes looking at herself. I mean…really, really likes looking at herself. So, in times of distress, I would whip out my cell phone and load a picture of her to calm her down. Instantly, she would cease crying, flash that smile, and be completely at ease. Crazy right? And if my cell phone was not readily accessible, I would quickly retreat to a mirror as back-up. Again – cute.
  • That moment when Ava was born. There is no feeling like it. Staying up for almost an entire day, seeing the labor until the end. One minute, she is in your wife’s belly, and the next minute, she is staring at you like, “What’s up?” I don’t think I really slept that night or the next few weeks thereafter. Not because Ava was waking up crying. No. Because, as a newly minted father, you’re paranoid as all get-out. A brother was checking numerous times nightly to see if his angel’s lungs were in working order.
  • File this moment under the blooper files. My wife, bless her heart, reads a lot and likes to try different things. So, she is really big into skin-to-skin contact. The first night home, Stephanie had to use the bathroom, so she handed Ava over to me. Being a big skin-to-skin advocate, she instructed me to take off my shirt. I put up resistance, but I relented. Well, instinctively, Ava mistook my chest for Stephanie’s chest and tried to extract milk from a place that had nothing bear. Suffice it to say, I quickly put my shirt on before things got weird. #milkdon’tcomefromthere LoL

The Standard #35

mistakeToday, I will reluctantly, stubbornly concede this excruciating truth: Sometimes a gentleman can possess an innate, insatiable instinct to be infallible. Yes, we are absolutely incapable of committing mistakes. We are never in the wrong and our lives are conducted free of error. Now, this alternate universe exists, of course, entirely within our subconscious. Nevertheless, a significant number of gentlemen believe this esteemed opinion to be truth. And yes – I am guilty on occasion of holding such foolish beliefs. However, the fact of the matter is we are all susceptible to making mistakes, and even worse, treating other individuals unfairly and unjustly.

Now, in striving to be righteous and honorable gentlemen, it is imperative that we recognize the moment our behavior becomes unflattering and injurious towards another individual. This moment does not warrant any form of excuse or justification. Moreover, the moment does not call for denial or flat-out ignoring that any offense has transpired. No, a gentleman should take ownership of his misdeed, demonstrate honest regret, proffer an apology, and make amends for any wrongdoing if possible. A principled gentleman fully understands that there is dignity and respect in his contrition. He does not cower before the truth of his fallible existence. A key component of being a gentleman is knowing this truth, and never being resistant to apologizing for one’s distressing actions. That is a gentleman’s standard we must diligently strive to uphold.

Black Thought

carter-g-woodson-2“Real education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to live with life as they find it and make it better.”

- Carter G. Woodson

To be absolutely sure, a gentleman’s life earns new significance when he not only identifies his purpose, but he also cultivates that purpose into something tangible that benefits other individuals. It is tragically irresponsible when an accomplished gentleman attains a certain degree of success, only to be miserly and penurious with his blessings. For the blessed gentleman that enjoys prosperity and favor, it is critical that he utilizes his influence to encourage, empower, and educate the under-served, often neglected sects of our society. When benevolence and compassion no longer exists in the hearts and minds of men, the quality of life for both the fortunate and less fortunate gradually diminish. And the best quality of life is something we should all strive to achieve – for everyone. So, operating within your domain of achievement, I urge the gentleman to re-purpose his purpose and seek to promote excellence and success in the lives those whom are underprivileged. And going forward, hopefully, they will perform the same charitable act for someone else.

Style & Substance – The Wellington Boot

 

Hunter BootCurrently, I am experiencing great difficulty with the justification of purchasing a pair of Wellington boots. Given my present state of residence, shiver-friendly Michigan – where seemingly 8 of the 12 months require multiple layers of clothing, the slushy terrain almost demands the procurement of boots specifically designed for the frosty muck that awaits outside. Every year I dutifully entertain the notion, and every year I procrastinate until spring washes away the salt and slush, thus eliminating my desire to purchase a pair “Wellies”. Honestly, an investment would not be too bad, as relocation is certainly not an option at this point.

Nevertheless, I could simply invest in a standard issue of dress boots and terminate the internal debate altogether. Additionally, the affectation that inherently influences the ritual of donning and removing a pair of robust Wellies could prove to be a rather cumbersome task to perform daily. Moreover, my mundane drive to work could possibly morph into something much more adventurous and treacherous, as applying one hefty boot to the throttle might require some nimble foot action. And with that, it would be correct to assume that yet another year shall pass with me foregoing a Wellington boot purchase. Maybe next year. Maybe.

Standard Recommendations – Fabric Shaver

 

EvercareEvery now and again, certain woven fabrics are susceptible to pilling – the development of tiny balls of fibrous fuzz on a garment’s surface. Wearing one’s clothing on a routine basis will ultimately bring about customary abrasion; resulting in stray fibers breaking free and forming those small unsightly balls of fabric nearly everyone abhors. The more expensive the fabric or the longer the fiber being woven, the likelihood of pilling lessens tremendously. Nevertheless, even these factors cannot totally negate the possibility of pills forming on your garment. To combat this clothing defect, I recommend investing in a fabric shaver. This small simple accessory removes unwanted pills and lint by way of spinning blades underneath a ventilated metal guard. Your garment can be returned to nearly fresh condition when employing the services of a fabric shaver. Readily available at store chains such as Target or Bed Bath & Beyond, a gentleman can expect to pay no more than $10.00 for a fabric shaver. This small investment will be well worth the cost, as adding this battery-operated accessory to your clothing maintenance will reap long-lasting benefits.

The Standard #29

MountainHumility. The act of possessing a modest opinion of one’s importance, understanding the complex context of life, and respecting the reality that other individuals may be better at some things than you. Gentlemen, please don’t be mislead by the boisterous musings of silly folk; so enamored by their own greatness that they cannot recognize their own shortcomings. Sometimes a man must recognize his faults and limitations. There is no shame in that. One must understand that embracing humility does not make a gentleman weak, actually, humility strengthens you. It keeps you grounded. It keeps you focused – on the important things in life. It is brazen arrogance that renders a gentleman vulnerable. Trust this: Keep living and life will eventually happen to you. And life can be the greatest administrator of humility. Recognize your position in life, and even if your station ranks well above others, discipline yourself in humility, as the folly of vanity can ultimately become your undoing. You don’t want to discover this bit of wisdom the hard way, but I am sure that you won’t. Maintain the standard my friends; catch you later.

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