Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Six Chivalrous Deeds to Teach Your Son


There seems to be a consensus among the answers to the Q4U: What do you do when teens push past you? and Is chivalry dead? Chivalry is not dead – yet – but we need to teach it vigorously to our sons.



Modeling behavior for a young child is a powerful teaching tool. Sons and daughters learn how a man should treat a lady by how Father treats Mother.

I also believe that sons will pick up this behavior better from their fathers. But for times when Father isn’t there, either literally or figuratively, here are some specific knightly actions and attitudes to teach a boy. I encourage my eight-year-old son to be chivalrous not only with me but also with his sisters. What better training ground than right there in your family? In interacting with a lady, I expect that my son should –

Open the door for her. The door of her home, the door of the car, the door at a restaurant or store. As I walk through, I say to my son, “Thank you, sir.” “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4)

Let her go first. First through the door, first at the buffet line, first to open a gift at an exchange. Again, I always say thank you. To make it fun and see my son smile, sometimes I curtsey. “And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve. . . .” (Matthew 20:27-28)

Use a gentle tone of voice. A boy should save his shouting for the ball game and eliminate disrespectful and derogatory attitudes altogether. “. . . That you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business. . . .” (1 Thessalonians 4:11)

Eliminate profanity substitutes from his vocabulary, both in public and in private. Of course, the best practice is never to start using them. A gentleman should use words that actually contribute meaning to the conversation. “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification.” (Ephesians 4:29)

Use positive, complimentary words about women. To call a woman “hot” reveals that he is only looking at her body. This is rude. Women have brains, too. (And, may I be honest? It drives me crazy! A man who considers only the physique of a woman doesn’t deserve a woman who is fun and witty and intelligent and a good mother…. Okay, climbing off my soapbox.) “. . .Let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting. . . .” (Ephesians 5:3-4)

Offer to carry or lift heavy objects for her. I tell him that this doesn’t mean that she can’t do it herself. But it demonstrates that her ease and well-being are important to him. My three-year-old loves to carry in heavy groceries, and I always say, “Thank you, big strong boy.” My eight-year-old son is a little young to understand this yet, but someday he’ll see that it also gives him a chance to show off his muscles. “. . . Be tenderhearted, be courteous. . . .” (1 Peter 3:8)

And ladies, I praise you for voicing your gratitude when a gentleman does hold the door for you. Let’s encourage it as much as we can!









What would you add to this list? What more can we teach our sons (or our sons’ friends or nephews or grandsons) about chivalry? How goes it with your young knight?

Now continue the discussion -- is "hot" a compliment?





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51 comments:

  1. With seven sisters, our (3) boys get PU-LENTY of practice! I love it when one of them opens my car door without being asked. And to see the 2 year old following in his older brothers' footsteps really blesses my heart! Great post!

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    1. That seems like a sign of success -- when a child does something you've been teaching without being asked! Great job, Cheryl! Thanks for commenting.

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  2. This is a great post. I am always looking for blog posts about raising boys to be Godly men that are good to women. Of course, my boy is only 14 months so I have a way to go. I am your newest follower from the Women Living Well blog hop.

    www.adventureswithcaptaindestructo.com

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    1. I'm glad it was helpful, Melissa. It's never too early to start training! Thanks for the comment and the follow. (BTW, LOVE the name of your blog! I have a captain destructo myself.)

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  3. Love this! I think that more parents should teach this to sons. I certainly will try.

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    1. Thanks, Colleen. I'm honored that you would stop by all the way from Norway. I'd love to see it someday...if I can ever get out of the Midwest! Hope to see you again.

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  4. I think I wrote the same post, called Where Have All the Men Gone? great minds think alike!!!

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    1. Thanks, Annmarie! It's a subject worthy of many posts.

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  5. Love this! My young knight has four sister, two older and two younger :)

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    1. You have a large training ground, then! Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Such good advice. We do Christian work in Europe part of each year in the former Communist countries, and I am amazed how those years of atheistic influence have affected chivalry. Few young men offer women their seats on trams and buses. And often a row of people walking down a sidewalk will not move over to let you pass in the other direction. As a woman in her 60's, I have been pushed up against the building many times by groups on the sidewalk. Christian values and politeness do go hand-in-hand. It's about respect and thinking of others first. And it's so important to teach our sons to respect women. Gail (BibleLoveNotes)

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    1. You are so right, Gail. Christianity and politeness do, generally, go hand-in-hand. I'm not sure any other of the world's religions teach that kind of thoughtfulness of others. Thanks for bringing in the international angle!

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  7. These are such lovely courtesies, it is a shame we're losing them. So glad you're building these good action habits in your boys. I also want to chime in along Gail's lines. Where the base is gone, the outward niceties tend to go, too. But even if they stay, they're hollow, and can be hypocritical, which is almost worse than non-existent. So important also to work on the hard job of leading those kids both to Christ, and in Christ, so that His love shines through the outward courtesies and they don't end up just outward put-ons, but are reflections of honest concern and honoring of those around them

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    1. Yes, Sylvia, thank you for emphasizing that all should be so that the love of Christ shines through us. That's the real reason behind the chivalry. Thanks for commenting.

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  8. When raising our boys, we worked on training them to be great future husbands also. Teaching them about kindness and courtesy towards girls, women and the elderly went hand in hand with the idea of being 'future husbands'.

    It was important to us that they learn to be helpful in all areas around the home.

    I believe it's not only important to thank men for holding the door, but women also... I'm here for Thrive @ Home Thursday

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    1. Donna, so many good points here that deserve blog posts of their own -- training boys to be future husbands, helpful all around the home, and just saying thank-you in general. Thanks for adding to the conversation.

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  9. I love these tips and I'll definitely keep them in mind for my little boy.

    We'd love for you to link up to our Finished Friday Blog Party. It's for projects and posts, too!

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    1. I've linked up before, but I thought it was for finished projects only. I don't always get to finish something every week! :) I'd be happy to link up other posts, though. Thank you, Allyson!

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  10. Great list! I don't have any boys, but definitely agree with these. Thanks for sharing and linking up to Thrive @ Home Thursday!

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    1. Thanks, Jenni, and thanks for the link-up!

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  11. Thanks for this! It's always a good reminder for mamas, and even for women in general...the part about respecting a man and encouraging him in his gentlemanly ways.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jelli. (What a cute name!) Hope to see you again!

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  12. I like this. I also try to encourage my boys by complimenting them when they use their "big strong muscles" to help a lady (usually me!) I also make sure to point out when their daddy does the same thing.

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    1. Great suggestion -- point out when Daddy is chivalrous. Thanks, Emily!

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  13. Thank you for this post. I have two sons and they love to hold the door for me and they are often the ones hefting the heavy things around and doing the manly chores like lawn mowing. I appreciate it, but should express that appreciation more often to encourage the behaviors. They have a wonderful example in their father. I found your blog as I was preparing a lesson on "Righteous Traditions". This will be a wonderful addition for what Men and fathers can do to help raise boys into christ-like men. I especially appreciate the scriptural references with your list. We need to recognize more often that kindness is a christ-like attribute and we should always be striving to be more like Him.

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    1. I'm so glad it was helpful, and thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you again!

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  14. Great tips! I didn't think to teach about having a gentle tone of voice. How do you help your sons with this? Thanks so much for linking up to Mom's Library!

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    1. With the younger ones, Tulip, it's mostly just a matter of when they get too loud. As they get older, it's a matter of respect. Demanding and disrespectful attitudes get corrected, sometimes by me and sometimes by their father. (Although it seems to have more impact when their father tells them not to speak with their mother like that.) A study of how Jesus treated women in light of the rather oppressive view of women at that time could be enlightening for a young man. Truly, though, we have not had much difficulty in this area -- yet. We'll see what happens with the three-year-old....

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    2. Thanks for the suggestions. Your posts was the most popular last week at Mom's Library so I will be featuring it this week!

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  15. Great list. As a mom of boys, I know these issues matter! Thanks so much, Meghan!

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    1. Thanks, Beth. I'm so glad you stopped by!

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  16. With three boys of my own, this list is so great! I was just speaking with my twelve year old the other day about how he is now at the age when he should be offering to get up from his seat for someone and offering to carry heavy things for a lady....I do believe that if it's not taught, modeled, and respected in the home, then it will not carry over to their own lives. Thank you so much for sharing this on NOBH!
    Love and God Bless,
    Christy

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    1. Thanks, Christy. Sounds like you're doing a great job!

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  17. I just found your blog. This is great info for moms of boys! Even though I'm not a mom, I think I will have to stick around. :)

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    1. I'm so glad you stopped by, Becca! :)

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  18. I love your suggestions, Meghan ! As a Montessorian (and because I was raised to value politeness), grace and courtesy were always important to me. It's amazing how much can be done to encourage politeness when children learn good manners at a young age! :) Deb @ RaisingFigureSkaters.com

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    1. Thanks, Deb! Yes, starting young is important. (But you already know that, with grown children!) Thanks for stopping by.

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  19. i just found your blog and I love this post. I was not raised to expect or accept chivalry and that chivalry was something offensive. In college I developed my own views on the subject and to my mother's chagrin I decided that chivalrous acts were a form of high respect instead of the insults she had taught me growing up. I now graciously accept chivalrous acts from my husband. We have also been working to teach them to our sons. My oldest recently started acting chivalrous toward me. It is so nice to be treated respectfully by my 7 year old. I wondered at times if any of the things we were teaching him were sinking in, but they are. Teaching the qualities mentioned above are important.

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    1. It sounds like you've made some great changes, and you are reaping the rewards. Good job! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you again.

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  20. Meghan...I loved this post very much. God has lead us to raise sons who are chivalrous and they are godly men who strive to be gentlemen. I am so glad to feature you and your blog this week over at WJIM. Thank you for sharing your fabulous post. :o)

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    1. Thank you for the link-up opportunity and especially the feature. I'm honored!

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  21. Oh, I love this post! My little gentleman-in-training is five years old, and LOVES to know "what a gentleman would do" in different situations. For such a rowdy, rough-and-tumble boy, he sure does love to "care for" his mama and little sis. I read the book "How To Raise A Gentleman" by Kay West a couple of years ago, and I love what she says in her introduction: "Good manners begin and end with common courtesy... What is courtesy but conducting oneself with a respect for others and the world we inhabit?" I love seeing my sweet boy rush ahead of us to a store/restaurant/church door to hold it open, not only for his own family, but for whomever may be approaching. He gets loud. He gets rowdy. He gets dirty. But show him an opportunity to be a gentleman, and he transforms into a chivalrous hero, riding in on his white horse. I believe that inside of every boy (and man), is a knight, needing his armor polished with words of praise, and his actions guided like an arrow, by the woman/women that love him, and have his heart.

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    1. It sounds like a great book -- thanks for sharing! Doesn't it make your heart ache with pride (the good kind) when you see your little man wanting to respect and protect you? Thank you for the terrific comment. Your thoughts add so much to the conversation!

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    1. Women of today do not deserve chivalrous men as they themselves have never been taught on how to act like PROPER ladies. As I've said, chivalry is something that once went BOTH ways. If a woman didn't act like a proper lady, a gentleman would NOT treat like her one either.

      Chivalry is dead. Let it rest.

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    2. I deleted your first comment because I value my readers and don't allow name-calling on my blog. I do agree with your comment, though, about women acting like proper ladies. I am in the process of preparing posts about just that, and they will appear in the coming weeks.

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  23. New reader ... just found your blog today & I LOVE this post! All boys should be taught to be gentlemen. Real men also treat all women (even those who do not act proper) as a lady.

    Chivalry is so NOT dead. I see it in the men I come across everyday and these are total strangers to me. They wouldn't know if I act like a proper lady or not, but there they are opening doors, offering to carry or help out with heavy packages or if there are just a lot of them, watching their language or saying they are sorry when they notice a woman in their presence.

    I had a teacher in high school who was so very offended if any man offered to help her in anyway. I thought it was sad. She didn't complain when other girls/women helped ... just men & she would explode and yell at the boys/men who showed her any respect. :(

    Thanks for the great post & I hope to be back more often to see what you have to say :)

    Angie

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    1. Thank you so much for all your reading today, Angie. I appreciate all of your comments, and I look forward to reading more of your thoughts in the future.

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  24. Meghan, I have no idea if you are still homeschooling, as I stumbled upon your blog by googling chilvary for boys. I am surrounded by a crew of boys - my son 8 along with 7 grandkids who are boys! I would love to have some info and curriculum or ideas on teaching chilvary. Especially to my son! I feel like this is a lost art. I also have a daughter 6 who needs desperated to learn to be a lady. She, surrounded by boys, is quick becoming a tomboy. Not that I see anything wrong with that in particular, only that there is a time and place for being a tomboy - and I feel she needs to learn to act like a lady too. Any help you can give is greatly appreciated. I noticed you mentioned in an above comment doing some posts on ladylike behavior. I hope you have! I will be looking forward to reading them.

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I so much appreciate your time and effort in leaving a comment, and I try to respond to as many as time permits. :-)