I always admire a man who knows how to choose and tie a good tie. To me a good-looking knot is an aesthetic treat. I always think more of a man who is careful to put a crisp dimple in his neckwear. It makes me feel confident that he has other things in order in his life as well.
My dad taught me to tie my own tie well and he taught me when it is a good idea to wear one. He put a tie on in the morning and rarely took it off until he dressed for bed. He wore a tie every day for nearly every imaginable task from pastoral counseling to mowing the lawn.
My preference is for regimental stripes tied in a half Windsor knot. Since I have lost weight the circumference of my neck is so much smaller that sometimes it works better to tie a full Windsor because the left-over portion is just the right size to tuck into the little loop on the backside of the tie. Another advantage of the full Windsor is that when you pull the skinny part through the rest of the tie unties by just pulling the knot straight out. But I still prefer the half Windsor myself. It’s not so over-symmetrical. The half Windsor is clearly hand-tied. You will never find a clip-on tied in a half Windsor.
There are so many things to teach a son and the time to do it is so short. There is a sense in which training a son to follow Jesus is a little like teaching him to tie his tie. Teaching your son to tie a good tie requires close proximity. So does discipleship. Teaching your son how to tie a tie requires personal demonstration, not just verbal explanation. I wouldn’t think of trying to explain to my son how to tie a tie without showing him. That is very true with discipleship. Like learning to tie a tie, discipleship requires repetition. And in all patience is required.
One day your son will walk up to you for the first time and he say; “Here, Dad let me help you with your dimple there,” and you know you have experienced a rite of passage. And if you are faithful the labor of your life, your teaching and demonstration you’re your repetition and patience will pay off in a fine son set on following Jesus who wouldn’t think of discrediting the family with a sloppy tie.
Kenneth L. Pierpont
The Riverfront Character Inn
February 24, 2003
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