The Mantle


The Mantle

Recently I’ve heard from a couple of readers who have been wondering why a column like “Marketing Minute,” that has nothing to do with parking, shows up in a parking magazine. One said, after stating that “he reads my column every month,” “shouldn’t it be in a philosophy magazine?” I responded, “You said you read it every month. It’s in the correct magazine.” That’s the goal of the editor, to draw people to read the columns every month. Another person recently said a similar thing. This reader said that she reads it every month to see what (my paraphrase) “nonsense Mr. Pinyot is spewing this month, probably something about his kids again.” From my standpoint, mission accomplished. She reads it every month. To my faithful readers in the first paragraph, a sincere thank you for reading my column every month.

All press isn’t bad. I receive 100 times more wonderful responses to my column (emails and visits at trade shows) than the two or three curious responses mentioned above.  There isn’t a Parking Trade Show that occurs without multiple people coming up to me and thanking me for a specific column that ministered to them personally. Many tell me that they forward my columns on to wives, husbands, family members and co-workers. 

The key to writing, I’ve found, is to write at the 7th grade level. Fortunately for me, that’s as high as I can personally write. I once spent quite a bit of time with the author of the “Left Behind” series, Jerry Jenkins. Jenkins shared with me that he sometimes has no idea ahead of his writing for the day, or the journey his characters will take. He has an end game, of course, and has people like Tim LaHaye doing the research for his classic series to keep
him in focus, but he does let his “Fingers do the Walking.” 

One of my friends just completed a three-book historical fiction series on the Civil War. I was shocked that in Book 2, page 100, he introduced a character named Major Jeffrey Stephen Pinyot. What fun to see a character with your name come alive on paper. Visit if you are a Civil War buff and want to enter Kevin’s mind on his journey into historical times. 

I suppose a very sensitive person might be taken back by the negative responses, but it only encourages me to be bolder as I continue in my writing career. I feel like everyone is afraid of being canceled these days for speaking truth. I’m bound and determined to not be included in that group. 

I heard a curious expression the other day that I’ve given thought to. We are to care more about the “Man, than the Mantle!” Ponder that for a moment. In home magazines, beautiful decorative mantles are on display, often changed seasonally. The mantle is where we put things that we want others to see to show those people that we are valuable and successful. As a father of four, one might think that an extension of my “mantle” are my children. How are contributing to the world? Kevin, the author above has three kids, one a teacher, one a youth pastor, and one in finance. That’s a very good mantle. My mantle includes an activated Army guardsman who is serving his country in active duty in the middle east, a physical trainer that works with children, a recent finance major, and a college student. Not a bad mantle myself. 

Wouldn’t it be unbelievable if one day you walked into a home and on the mantle of the house, you saw past due notices, wedding pictures with a person crossed out, a death notice, a horrible report card….do you catch where I am going? A mantle that is REAL, truthful, and telling. Wouldn’t you just want to grab that person and hug them and let them know that they are not alone and that you are there to stand beside them? 

Last night we took our baby (sophomore in college) and his wonderful girlfriend, a nursing student, out to dinner. After her first week of clinicals, Gracie said that someone vomited three times in her presence during clinicals and that she had to collect and weigh the vomit. After gagging, it occurred to me that a decorated mantle with fake successes (purchased), participation trophies, and non-stop pictures of endless European vacations and famous people, is a mere collection of worldly vomit. No matter the weight, it’s vomit and it has no sustainable value whatsoever. 

The man (woman) is way more important than the mantle. My son Christopher, who I won’t see till next fall, is my mantle out into the world. He and I have a weird thing that goes on. When he is serving, I give up dessert and after dinner snacks. When I get a hunger pain, I text him and shoot him a note of encouragement. It’s a good weight loss plan and now that you also know about it, I hope you see less of me when we meet in person at the next trade show. 

Keep those cards and letters coming, don’t send cash in the mail. Let’s together pay attention to what we are displaying, is it our love for the mantle, or our love for the man (and woman)?

Article contributed by:
Jeff Pinyot
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