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Is Chivalry Dead?


Well, if we don’t teach it to our kids, then it very well may as its practice seems to be dwindling.

Is there such a thing as a godly, macho man?  I think so.  I like to think of it as “modern-day knight.”  Remember the days, or at least the stories of gentlemen and cowboys?  I’ve only known them through movies.  I’ve read a few of Mark Driscoll’s blog posts on how to a man ought to be like on his series of how to love your wife, dating, etc.  I’m not necessarily promoting his blog per se but it sparked my interest and I just wanted to ramble about my own thoughts on the issue of how a man ought to think and treat a woman.  Although I don’t ascribe to everything he says and does, I’m inclined to his descriptions of how a man ought to provide and protect a woman.  Generally, a woman’s nature is for a man who is going to unconditionally love her, protect her, and provide in all ways… a man who will father her children with care, compassion, sensitivity- quality.  You could go overboard with pride in being a macho man but mixed with humility, I think it can be a great combo.  Women want men who will defend them.  I like how Mark Driscoll describes how he prepares and predetermines in his mind for different situations, like if he and his wife is walking along the road, he will walk on the outside to protect her if a car should accidentally swipe by so that he would get hit, not her.  He’s walking his talk of love and self-sacrifice.  But being macho and protective in this way doesn’t mean you brag and boast about it, especially to your wife.  For example, it’s unbecoming if the man was like, “hey, see how I did that for you.  I’m being a man.  I’m sacrificing myself for you in this way and that.”  No, a secure man is doing the deeds because he knows it’s right and finds joyful satisfaction in that and doesn’t need to announce it.  He doesn’t need to validate his actions by looking around to make sure someone’s watching when he is acting “the man”.  I find it repelling when a man is obnoxiously boastful about his macho-ism.  I grew up with two older brothers who were very protective.  I knew I was safe with them.  They were tough and they showed it.  Of course they were a bit boastful at times and those times even as a young girl I found it irritating.  But I knew if I needed something, they would protect me without hesitation.  They were and still are the type that would sacrifice their lives for the ones they love.  You can tell a confident man in the way he exerts his macho-ism but without all the neon lights.  He’s not a show off.  He just does it.  He’s not looking around to see who’s watching so that he can be praised for how strong and courageous he is.  A man needs to be strong, even when he is weak.  When the head is weak and lacks confidence, it shakes the whole tower.  In fearful situations, the man needs to be steady; not whiny, grumbling, huffing and puffing, and complaining.  Now, I’m not saying that a man should never be scared or cry or feel sensitivity.  But I think for a man, those feelings are acted upon differently than women.  Men need to be the rock even when they’re on sandy ground.  A secure man need not constantly look himself in the mirror catching glimpses of himself at every opportunity because that is vanity, which is not attractive.  In fact, he doesn’t even realize he passed one.

Let not chivalry die, men.  Open doors.  If you see a lady, stranger or wife, with a heavy load, offer help.  Better yet, just do it.  “Here, let me help you with those,” rather than stand there staring saying, “do you want help?”  Ladies can be prideful, too.  After all, we are sinners the same.  If you see a lady (of any age) overloaded with stuff, help her.  Unless she’s a hardcore feminists, having a terrible day, she’ll likely be very glad, thankful and impressed.  Don’t hesitate to help.  Don’t fiddle around waiting for her to ask.  Just do it.  Learn it.  Practice it.  But do it with cheerfulness or you’ll rob any joy you will gain in doing the good deed men were meant to do.  You were born for it.  Don’t make excuses.  That’s so unattractive.  “Oh, I couldn’t open the door because my hands were full.”  Baloney.  Put your stuff down and do it.  Figure it out, man!  And don’t bring attention to the fact that you had to put your stuff down to be the gentleman.  What a waste of time and effort that would be.  And it would totally ruin the moment.

Be a gentleman- “gentle-man.”  Get it?  A gentleman is polite, intelligent, witty, talented, modest, well dressed, well-groomed, and culturally aware (stolen from another blog- gentlemansguide.net).  Let me add:  tastefully complimentive (I think I made up that word b/c this spell checker didn’t recognize it), meaning not overly excessive with his compliments.  Compliments can become ridiculous and distasteful when used frivolously.  He’s thoughtful, kind, tastefully humorous (goes with witty).  He’s not needy of validation.  He doesn’t seek out how to gain praise.  He does the gentleman thing and just is.  How did guys get so afraid of these personality traits? Personally, I think they’ve got so desperately caught up in trying to prove themselves that they’ll scratch themselves in public, listen to gangsta rap and start fights in front of girls just to impress.  Well, vain fights does not necessarily win women, although, I’m sure you’ll find some in that category but that’s not what I would condone.  Physical defense should be used out of necessity and a last resort, not just out of ego.  That’s not genuine nor attractive.  A gentleman?  He knows himself and comfortable regardless of what anyone else says.  He’s charming but not manipulative and deceptive.  He’s cool but not cocky.  Taking some pride in how you present yourself to other people is simply being a gentleman (ladies not excluded in this area).  It takes work but not impossible.

Men, Dads:  learn it, then teach it to your sons.  Model it.  Do it with grace.  It’s not impossible but it may take practice.  So what your dad didn’t teach it to you?   You’re smart and resourceful when you want to be.  Figure it out.  You’ve got info all around.

Women, Moms:  learn it, then teach it to your sons.  Reinforce it in practice.  What I do is teach these principles to my son and then when we’re living about our life, I try to remember to remind him to incorporate it into daily living.  For example, if we’re shopping, I’ll tell him he can open the door like a gentleman; beat us to the door and just do it.  When we have groceries, he’s to help bring bags in (but so are my girls).  I tell him to let girls go first.  He needs to learn patience as a virtue, anyway, right?  He has three gals in the house in which he can practice.  Sometimes when we are about to run errands, in which he likes to do with me, I usually set all the things we’ll need to take with us (like shopping bags, my purse, etc) along the hallway wall to our garage and he has become accustomed to loading the van of the things sitting along the wall.  Then, when he remembers, he’ll come back in and ask how else he can help.  There are times when he’ll have my door open for me ready for me to get in.  He doesn’t do these things all the time but having the door open for me is something I’ve never actually taught him but he’s taken it upon himself to think ahead of how he can serve.  It can only make a mom thankful.  My son is “special needs”(down syndrome) mind you, so, there’s no excuse that it cannot be taught.  It’s what we prioritize with our time.

I like how the following post outlines certain (granted limited) antidotes to the culture of “me.”

http://chivalrytoday.com/knights-not-royalty/

So, don’t let chivalry die.  Being a gentleman doesn’t grow old.  It should grow old with us.  You could say that ultimately, being a gentleman is acts of love.

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