Saturday, August 30, 2014

Respect, Fear, Chivalry

I am an old fashioned girl and I am not ashamed to admit it.  I still believe in manners and respect and I am a die hard fan of chivalry.

That does not mean I feel women should walk in the shadow of their men but I do feel that a please, a thank you or a holding of a door shows respect and ladies, we deserve respect. (Of course, this goes both ways.  If we want respect we must show it.) It confuses me and makes me a little sad that our society has evolved in such a way that this even has to be said.

When my oldest son was in preschool, we went to the mall.  Even at that young age, he stopped and held a door open for a woman walking in with us.

I kid you not- she turned to me and said "I can hold my own door open!"

Shocked but not into silence (I am a native New Yorker who was not raised to take verbal abuse from anyone), I responded "I am sure you can but I am trying to teach my son to be a gentleman."

She spouted something about the twenty first century and walked away.

Twenty first century or not, when did manners and being polite go out of style?

Today, a half dozen years later, we were at the mall again and my youngest son was walking with me.  Three teen girls attempted to leave a store at the same time so I stopped my son and said "Let the girls go first, honey. Remember, ladies before gentlemen." 

He stopped in his tracks and waited for them to pass without question. As they walked by, one of the girls looked at me over her shoulder and said something to her friends about how I had called them ladies.  They then proceeded to giggle like teenage girls do as they walked away. They were surprised that I had stopped my boy and let them go and I guess that surprised me.

There are plenty of memes and jokes on the internet about how kids were raised in different generations. Backtalk was punished, kids had curfews and rules and- gasp- they followed them. I know times are different but are they so different that we no longer have to offer each other common courtesy? Part of me wonders if that is not a bit of what is wrong with this world.  People throw around the world respect like its a football but I don't think many really know the true meaning of the word.  Respect is not fear and I think many of our younger generations equate the two in an unhealthy way.  You do not earn respect by bullying or hurting others feelings or even physically hurting someone.  Respect is better earned by stopping the bully, saying kind words and, believe it or not even saying things like please and thank you.

It is NOT calling each other "Ho's", "Bitches" or "Sluts".  It is NOT having a man expect certain "favors" because of a nice dinner out. Most importantly, it is NOT fear.

I will continue to teach my sons to hold a door, let a lady pass and pick up things when someone drops them.  They need to know that when they one day fall in love and maybe marry that the object of their affections deserves to be treated in a way that shows true respect. The good Lord had better help them if I ever once hear them call a woman any of the above mentioned names- nothing short of divine intervention will protect them from the wrath of their mother!



  1. AS usual, I'm in total agreement. Keep up the good work!

  2. I totally agree. I also grew up saying ma'am and sir. I have met people who find that offensive. I sure wish more people saw the importance of having respect, morals, etc.