I have been sharing that one of my favorite summertime activities is to wind down the workday at the pool. Not so very long ago, as I was poolside with my cocktail firmly in hand, I noticed what appeared to be a stream from one of those hand held pump water guns, you know, one of those “super soakers”. But, as I looked again, to my surprise, I realized it wasn’t that at all. Rather, it was J.J, a four year old boy peeing in the pool….
And now, I present Part Three….
To be clear, J.J. was not just sneaking one, but standing proudly by the side of the pool in plain sight, swim trunks around his ankles, wearing a big smile, and letting it fly in a perfect arc.
Then I observed him paying no attention to the critics shouting for his attention. His mom and dad continued to try to attract my new hero’s attention, but to absolutely no avail…he seemed to be on his own path and no one or nothing was going to stop him.
He did not even see his mom move from one end of the pool to the other. In fact, he was having (as we say in the South) “a big old time”, smiling, laughing, floating on that noodle in a leisurely trek to the far side of the pool, completely oblivious to the boo birds, the naysayers, the critics…..and, most importantly, absolutely ignorant to the fact his mother was waiting for him at the edge of the pool. As soon as he got close enough, she reached in and snatched him up out of the water as only mothers can do.
She then held his hand (I’m guessing fairly tightly) and escorted him hurriedly to a secluded terrace adjacent to the pool. She then sat him in a chair and kneeled down face to face with my young hero. From my vantage point I was unable to hear the conversation, but I can tell you this; his mother never visibly lost her cool. I feel certain she was stern, but no one around would ever have known. She showed the kind of self control for which we all should strive.
This brings me to the next point of this story: showing restraint.
Now some of you may ask, what does showing restraint have to do with being bold? I believe there is ultimate strength and boldness in being in control.
Restraint is something we could use more of in the quest and daily practice of being a gentleman. Holding our tongues when we are about to share negativity is one example of gentlemanly restraint.
Restraint is paramount. We can all remember being taken to task in front of others and how bad that felt. Why would we, as gentlemen, ever want to inflict that pain and embarrassment on others?
To put it another way, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Back to J.J. and his mom. She taught him a valuable life lesson that day without embarrassing or berating him in front of others. Maybe, he also got the lesson of showing restraint in dealing with others. And maybe, just maybe, he got the lesson of being bold… without peeing in the pool.