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Friday, December 9, 2011

Raising Gentleman

When I was a little girl, I would visit my Papa and Nana's house in Santa Clara. In the morning, while my Nana was getting herself ready for the day (which took a very long time), Papa would take me for a walk down to the beautiful campus of Santa Clara University. Each time we would cross the street, he would switch places with me, ensuring he was always walking on the side of the street and I was on the inside. I took notice, and asked him, "Papa, why do you keep switching places with me?" He replied, in his gentle, calming voice, "A gentleman is always supposed to walk on the side near the street." Oh, my! That made me feel like a princess! And I never forgot that moment. I felt so very special to him.
It seems like true gentleman are an endangered species. In our modern culture, the art of gentleman manners has been lost. I don't want that to be the case for my four boys. I want my boys to show courtesy and respect for others, and most especially, ladies and elders.
Hannah had gone to the Portland area this week with Aunt Holly to visit my brother's family. While she was gone, and it was just me and my boys, I decided to take some time to discuss with them by what a gentleman is characterized. I have told them many times before that, especially as they get older, I expect them to use their increasing strength to defend and protect those who are weaker than they are, as opposed to using their strength to bully and push around younger children and girls. This week, we added to that concept some new instructions I found in an article I read online. Some of these manners, my boys already exhibit. Some of them, my boys had never heard of before, and thought were kind of strange. But they became very anxious to begin practicing using their strength to serve others. I encouraged them to start with the females in their own home (their sister and me).
Today, when we picked up Holly & Hannah from the airport, my older boys put their gentleman manners into practice by helping the girls with their heavy luggage. They were very proud to serve the girls in this way.
Here is the list of 10 gentleman manners that we discussed. Have fun sharing these with your young men.

  1. Gentlemen have respectful attitudes which lead to respectful actions and words. They greet people with a smile, nod or "hello" as they pass people. Their attitude is one of putting others first - based on The Golden Rule... to treat others the way they would like to be treated.
  2. Gentlemen use respectful words: "Please" "Thank You" "You're Welcome" and "Excuse Me." Instead of "What?" and "Huh?" they say "Pardon me?" They say "Yes Ma'am" and "No Sir" respectfully. They never use cursing or cussing words. Gentlemen also have the courage to use difficult words like, "I'm Sorry" "I made a mistake" and "Will You Forgive Me?"
  3. Gentlemen open doors for Ladies and allow them to pass through first, saying, "After you!" All children open the door for their elders.
  4. Gentlemen walk a Lady to the car and open the car door for her.
  5. A Gentleman offers his seat to a Lady. Gentlemen should offer their seat to their elders or pregnant women in crowded buses or waiting rooms. Never be seated until your mother is seated. (I was humbled and thrilled to find out that the distinguished, elderly gentleman who had offered me his seat one day in Seattle for basketball's "Final Four" tournament was the legendary UCLA Basketball Coach, John Wooden!)
  6. A Gentleman helps a Lady put on her coat or sweater. He also offers to help carry heavy packages for a lady. Children offer to carry the bags for their mothers. If the lady drops something, the gentleman will pick it up for her.
  7. Gentlemen stand when a Lady enters the room or when he is introduced to someone.
  8. Gentlemen seat a Lady at the dinner table before they seat themselves. They rise when ladies excuse themselves and when they return. The gentleman takes care of the lady to his right.
  9. The Gentleman protects a Lady from danger. He walks on the curb side of the road as a courtesy of protection and to keep the lady from getting splashed by puddles. He also stands behind a lady on an escalator going up; and in front of her going down to protect her from falling. He walks down a dark theatre aisle first and the lady will follow.
  10. A Gentleman will never EVER hit or hurt a Lady. A boy must never hit or hurt a girl, but rather use his strength to protect a girl.

1 comment:

  1. I was super impressed when Joshua loaded my heavy bag into the car and also when we returned home and walked me in taking my bag all the way to my room! So this explains it! Love it! -Aunt Holls