Mots and Maxims

Witty remarks, truths and concepts.


Posted on: December 2, 2021

Words Before Meaning

So, my deal with my grandkids, starting with Laila (who’s seven years old), is that they first need to learn each word that is an Ideal of Chivalry and how each is spelled. Like a spelling bee, Laila must stand respectfully before me and say the word and spell it. She gets a dollar for each task: pronunciation and spelling.

The first Ideal of Chivalry is Perseverance. P-E-R-S-E-V-E-R-A-N-C-E.
(Two bucks!)

And so on. When she gets to the last—Duty—that’s a total of twenty dollars for the entire list. But it’s a progressive task. Potentially, she can earn a nice little chunk of cash.

I’ve started with the two longest words first, and she’s struggled a little, but she’s got them down pretty good now. I recently added two more:

(Eight bucks!)

When I’m satisfied she knows the words by heart, I’ll start into their meanings.

The first Ideal of Chivalry is Perseverance. P-E-R-S-E-V-E-R-A-N-C-E. Perseverance is when you start
something, but it’s hard, so you keep pushing until it’s finished. I showed perseverance this week …

The idea here is to get her to think about the Ideals—the words, the meanings—and to find ways to use them. She won’t be able to find ways she’s used all of them, but it’s certain she’ll be able to think about a few ways she’s used them. Three bucks for the word-spelling-meaning, and an additional two bucks for how she’s used it.

There’s a lot of cash to be had by these girls.

They’ll be richer in two ways: earning the cash and knowing the Ideals of Chivalry.

If I had to do the first one, I’d say …

The first Ideal of Chivalry is Perseverance. P-E-R-S-E-V-E-R-A-N-C-E.
Perseverance is when you start something, but it’s hard, so you keep pushing until it’s finished.

I showed perseverance when I started writing my book twelve years ago, and it became clear that it was going to be more than one. I kept pushing through it so that now the series nearly finished with the fourth and final book.

Posted on: October 28, 2021

An Ideal Situation

What are the Ideals of CHIVALRY?

First, let’s establish what an Ideal is. Incidentally, when “defining” words on this site, I will primarily use (Random House Unabridged Dictionary, denoted by a “D” in parentheses) and occasionally (MW). An ideal (D) is

1. A conception or standard of something of perfection or excellence;
2. An ultimate object or aim of endeavor, especially one of high or noble character;
3. Something that exists only in the imagination.

I capitalize the word for emphasis, like it’s a part of a title of something important. (It is.)

I’m not going to go into a history of the word chivalry, except that to say it’s associated with knighthood in the Romantic sense. Knights for the most part in the real world of the Middle Ages and Renaissance were trained for war, and when they weren’t at war, they were bullies, especially to those beneath them.

It is why CHIVALRY was developed: to create a kind of social engineering to control these brutes. And there were various codes circulating during this time. (I may explore some of those in this blog.) So, what I am presenting here is what I developed years ago when I was an English teacher. I didn’t have classroom rules of behavior on the walls of my classrooms, I had the Ideals of CHIVALRY.

Incidentally, my sons were taught these Ideals, too.

The following are my Ideals of CHIVALRY:
1. Perseverance
2. Generosity
3. Courtesy
4. Courage
5. Respect
6. Loyalty
7. Truth
8. Faith
9. Honor
10. Duty

The list has changed a little over the years, but this is perhaps the most consistent—and it is the one I am presenting to my grandchildren.

As I explore these Ideals, I will also be citing related quotations on my Quotes and Doodads page, so check those out when I mention them.

As I have already presented the first two to my granddaughter Laila, I will be discussing those soon.

Posted on: October 5, 2021

A Way of Life

You may be wondering what Chivalry has to do with The Dark Matter Series. Not much directly.

Chivalry has everything to do with me. It is the driving force of how I try to live my life. I’m not always consistent with it. I fail sometimes in living up to its high standards. I’m only human.

But Chivalry—from now on, I will write it in all caps—CHIVALRY is the third most important thing to me.
1. God and Christ
2. Family
4. Writing
5. Job

So, I have this little thing going with my grandchildren, starting with my eldest, Laila. I am introducing them to the Ideals of Chivalry, first as words, later as definitions/concepts, finally in deeds. As each child reaches the age of seven (when paging started with noble children aspiring to knighthood), I will start this process, so that when they get to middle school, they will know the words and concepts in their hearts.

As I introduce these Ideals to Laila, I will discuss them here on this page. I may discuss other related concepts—for instance, the Way of the Samurai or the concept of comitatus in Roman society. That also means feudalism may touch on some of my comments in this blog.

Above all, keep in mind this blog is what CHIVALRY means to me and why I believe it’s important.