09/17/2012 10:58 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

In Praise of Old School

I'm old enough to admit to being confused about the exact import of the term "old school." Is it good or bad? A compliment or a putdown? A shout-out to a code of conduct that, while not flashy, emphasizes substance, hard work and real skill, or a rebuff to anything that happened before the 1990s?

I'm asking because when my daughter Summer's fiancé Brandon proposed marriage to her recently -- on one knee in the rotunda of the Wisconsin State Capitol -- a lot of my fellow boomers referred to his highly romantic gesture as "old school."

marriage proposal

And then they "seconded that emotion" when I told them that Brandon had not only asked me -- his future father-in-law -- for Summer's hand, but that he'd also asked her 94-year-old grandfather for his blessing as well!

And that he scrimped and saved -- even selling his car -- to buy an exquisite engagement ring. And scripted and rehearsed his proposal speech. And had a photographer present. And got down on one knee in the rotunda of the Wisconsin State Capitol . . .

Heck, if that's old school, well, it's about as good as it gets. My wife and I couldn't be happier about the engagement and with Brandon, whom we're thrilled to welcome into our family. I have never seen my daughter happier.

And that makes this old school heart full to bursting.

marriage proposal