Men teach us how to be men. Women teach us how to be gentlemen. That in mind, what five women have made you the man you are today? Not just your mother, or the girl who put fire in your blood for the first time, but the women who taught you things no one else could. To begin.

1. My mother

After my fathers death, my mother took up the burden of guiding my sister and I through our later lives with a strength greater than any man. I won't bore you with the story of my families struggles an such, I will simply tell you what she did for me. My mother taught me the value of knowledge, and romance beyond love, of lust for life, and of the nobility of the individual, partly by demonstration, and partly through intentional education. She also taught me how to be a world class bartender and how to drink like a champ.

2. My Sister

Not a tomboy so much as a woman without an ounce of fear in her, my sister took it upon herself to teach me what women want as I started dating, educating me in the proper manner of romancing a woman every step of the way. More than a cliche older sister, she has also been a devoted friend for 51 years, and stood by me no matter how many mistakes I made, remaining the keystone of our tiny family.

3. Melissa Mullens

My college girlfriend, Mellisa was the first girl I ever loved. She absolutely broke my heart, and made a better person for it. We connected, we spent time together, and she absolutely broke my heart, and I grew up. Decades later Melissa is married and we're both old farts and good friends. Never judge someone for one poor decision. Learn from every choice.

4. Yoshi Makata

Wife of my psychiatrist, and endlessly tolerant of my fractured psyche, Yoshi has taught me more about tolerance and wisdom than any other person I have ever met. Kind and polite, and always ready to listen, I am not afraid to say that I have been in love with her for a long time in a certain way, mostly platonic. Together she and her husband are a profoundly important part of my life

5. The Contessa Elise Germaine

The Silver Fox. Is she a countess? I have no idea. No one knows. She has been my opponent in business since the very beginning. She is the great enigma. The challenge. The feminine Ideal to my Faust. She is brilliant, skilled and to a man my age beautiful. She has taught me what I really want out of another person, and that is the one. And that is her. The hunt has begun.

Begin my young friends. Let your hearts and minds guide you to the truth, and then find these women and thank them for what they gave you.

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An appropriate and accurate correction made. I thank you for your assistance.
1. My mother. Straight shooting and earnest in her endeavors. She would not nurture or molly-coddle me when I wanted her to, she only did so when I absolutely needed it. She could can shame me and bolster me in the same sentence and is seemingly unaware of that ability. Probably the most important thing I've learned from my mother was to judge the validity of my goals by the virtue of my motivation to acheive those goals. Her mockery of my self-indulgence keeps me grounded. When I was ten years old, I told her I was depressed, she asked me why and I told her was because life seemed pointless. Her response "You are too tightly wound." I felt ridiculous.

2. My mothers' mother and aunt. Sitting in her favourite recliner with a quilt that she made draped across her lap endlessly snapping peas that she picked (or had me pick), her sister sitting right beside her in her own recliner doing the same. Throwing comments back and forth to each other seeming unafraid or unaware of the changes that were coming. I miss hearing the way they would say "Shugah" and "Honny". "Well hellooo honny are you hongry?" Or "Shugah would you turn that (heatuh or tv) up fah me?". I had ten years to prepare for my grandmothers death and it wasn't enough. News of her sisters death was sudden and I went out to my studio and cried. They defined family and welcome and acceptance.

3. My daughter. She's not a woman yet but she has had just as great an impact on me as any have or any are probable to have. My life without a child was like living life on the "easy" setting. Now I tend run my life through a filter. I want nothing in my life that I would be ashamed of or that I would not want in her life.

4. My ex. She was influential to the negative. She educated me to certain cruel realities and destroyed my illusions completely. She woke me up the worlds flaws and I will never go back to sleep again.

5. My girlfriend. I've known her since we were children. We've been in each others lives for twenty-two years in one capacity or another. It's been a long story between us and we've taken a lot of hard blows but I think we are getting it together now. Just in the nick of time.
I'm glad someone started this discussion. Because there are some women in my life, I would love to honor by putting it to words. Here goes:

1 . My aunt Nell (mother's sister). She taught me everything about manners, and how to be a gentleman. She was the only one in my mothers' family to have attained a degree. She was also the only one to have been through a divorce, the only one with no children, and the only one to have worked as a mole, for a wealthy museum curator! She lived a colorful life for sure, and I admired her for her spunk. She is still living, and I visit her whenever I can.

2 . My mother. She encouraged my creativity, and fostered many of my hair-brained ideas over the years. She was a lot of fun, and later in life, we were pals. I miss our talks. I miss our walks. And I miss her so.

3 . Pat. She is a very good friend of my wife. They went to college together. She was one of those students that would have been referred to as a free-spirit, or granola. Complete with earth shoes, and braided hair, to this day she doesn't wear make-up, and she is liable to drop an "F" bomb at the drop of a hat. I love her for her individualism, and that she can size up a person in the blink of an eye.

4 . My wife. She is a rock. She is the go to person to most of her friends and family. She has honor, and it's like she invented the word commitment. She is loyal, and she is the best friend anybody could have. She has taught me so much during our courtship and marriage, stuff like, what it means to give your word, and what it means to serve. And most important, what it means to give. I love her!

5 . Jeri. My bff. Yep. Best Friend forever. I can't even begin to put into words what this lady is all about. We've been through so much together, but all the while we've kept it to "friends". I've never seen her any other way. She accepts me no matter what, and she is the only one that can call bullshit on me, and get away with it. We've worked together, played together, laughed and cried together. The world would not make any sense without her in it, so when our time comes, I hope I go first!
This is a very good question and one that I'll have to give some more thought to.
1. My grandma Lois.

I was tremendously impacted by my dad's mother. She lost a husband , and two sons, all to tragic accidents within four years. Yet the way that she carried herself, her approach to life, and her committment to bettering herself and loving those around her was like none I have ever seen. My grandma taught me the importance of faith and the value of family.

2. My mom.

My mother is a fantastic woman with a great laugh. She is simple, and enjoys simple pleasures. She takes such joy in family, and in making all preperations needed to ensure everyone is having a great time, and eating all they can. There were hard times, after my dad's death, and she was a fighter and took on two jobs to raise four kids. I am honored to be her son. My mom taught me how to handle diversity, enjoy life's simple pleasures and to always choose joy.

3. My wife.

There is a classic line from As Good as It Gets, where Jack Nicholson says to Helen Hunt, "You make me want to be a better man." My wife does that. From the moment I met her, I was inspired to not cut corners as a man, and to go out of my way to honor her. She carried herself with total confidence and a sincere humility, and it was evident that she would not compromise her standards for anyone. She is a fantastic wife, a wonderful partner and and a tremendous friend. We love raising our girls together and spending great time with our family. My wife has shown the value of integrity and honor, and the purpose for chivalry.

4. My sister

I have a strong, stubborn, independent sister. She grew up with three brothers, and always held her own. Somehow she ended up with three boys, and I ended up with three girls, and each of us is learning to survive in a household of the opposite gender. What has impacted me is her resolute spirit.

5. Teachers

I was trying to limit this to one, but really had a whole series of teachers that showed grace and patience when I didn't deserve it. am thankful for them all!
1. My wife. Loving her through a chronic illness has taught me more about love, patience, and myself then I ever thought possible.

2. My mother. She home-schooled all 7 of her children while we lived in a third-world country where life itself was a struggle. Somehow she also managed to find the time to start a career as a successful author. I've never met a harder worker than my mom.

3. Mrs. Cole, college music professor. During some of the darkest days of my life while struggling through college, I always knew that when I walked into her choir practice room that life would seem just a little more bearable. She never knew it, but she saved my life.

4. Janet. I learned from her that strong women do not make men weaker; they make them stronger. It's the lesson of a lifetime.

5. My grandmother. I never knew her. She died when I was two years old. But the effect that she had on my father's life has rippled down into my life in so many different ways. My life would be less without her.
Mother. She gave me something to overcome. The first 30-odd years of my life were about recovering from her. I think of it as when a boy goes through an ordeal in a primitive society, to achieve manhood -- killing a bear, or something. Why the suffering, or the danger? To be adult. If it were easy, we'd stay children.

Sister. She looked at the mess of my family and said, "Here we go again. This sucks." So I came to know: gosh, you can remember this time to time! (I was very small.) And: Mother's wrong. It isn't my fault for thinking this is wrong. I'm not crazy, or evil, like she keeps telling me. *This* is wrong.

Wife. Her impact on me is that she made me happy. I hadn't experienced long-term happiness before. Now I know what it's like. It could only have been her, too. No one else would have done it.

That's all I got.
my Mom, my wife, my girlfriend, oops...
Funny how in the discussion of men who have impacted our lives, we included a lot of famous men in addition to family friends etc. In this discussion, it seems to be mostly the women who have been close to us during our lives. Not a lot of famous women have been mentioned yet.


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