I’m surrounded by testosterone. I’m living in a house with 4 men (okay, one man and three little boys who will one day be men…)
My life is full of trains and race cars, superheroes and bikes, mud and dirt and noise and bumps and bruises, sports, sports, and more sports. How many hours straight can a dude watch ESPN before his brain explodes?
It would be easy for me to become what they are. It would be easy for me to be just “one of the boys.”
I love superhero movies. I have learned more about trains in the past seven years than I ever thought I would know. I can kick a soccer ball and play catch with my sons. I enjoy watching football. I can play “shoot ’em up” and I’ve dusted off my Super Mario skills to keep up with the boys on the Wii.
But I’m not a boy, and I think it is vitally important that my sons know it.
While I love them and I love being involved in their lives, they need to realize that beyond the biological differences God created between boys and girls, I am a lady and I expect to be treated as such.
Why do I expect this? Because I live like a lady and I am preparing them to go out into the world as gentlemen. You’re welcome, future daughters-in-law.
My boys constantly hear the words, “This is how a gentleman treats a lady.”
I want sons who are as rough-and-tumble as the next group of boys, but I want my sons to respect women. I want them to protect women. I want them to show compassion to their future wives and develop habits that are respectable, cultured, and refined.
Why do so many women believe chivalry is dead? Because we, as women, no longer expect it to be alive. We’ve demanded equality and so we are receiving it. And it’s not always pretty.
I want to raise gentlemen. But raising a gentleman starts with me— I am the most important lady in their lives right now and my life must reflect that.
In this ever-changing world where women are becoming (and sometimes expected to be) more and more masculine, it’s no longer commonplace to find ladies among a sea of gentlemen. It’s a nostalgic thought, dead with the introduction of “equality” and Women’s Lib.
In my home boys and girls are not equals because we were created differently. I want my sons to realize the differences and step up to be the kind of men God created– ones who love and honor their wives and families, who make it a priority to provide, and put God and their families before everything else.
I have no shame in setting high expectations of my sons in all areas of their lives, including knowing that when there is a lady present, their inner gentleman must come out.
I’m old school like that and there’s no shame in it.
Share with me: What quality to you think is most important in a gentleman? In a lady?
13 responses to “Why I Won’t Be One of the Boys”
Love this, Jen! I hope to raise gentlemen too!
Our future daughters-in-law will thank us!! 🙂
You go, girl!!! I did raise a gentleman — and let me tell you, the girls noticed it. My husband taught our son to open the car door for me when he wasn’t there to do it for me. One day when my son was about 13, he ran errands with me. As we walked into a small craft store (so not his favorite thing to do), the twenty-something cashier, who had witnessed my son opening my car door, asked “Does he have an older brother?” 🙂
Love it!! 🙂 It helps to have a husband that models gentlemanly manners and respect, too. My hubby does that and then instigates a huge wrestling match in the living room.
Thank you so much! I am sick of the idea that to be treated fairly I must be treated the same. I expect to be paid the same as my male counterparts, I expect to be viewed as a respected colleague by my writing friends, but I also expect to be treated with kindness and courtesy. I don’t see those as being mutually exclusive ideas.
Agreed. They are not mutually exclusive. When women act like ladies, we show the men we are around that we expect to be treated as such. I could write a whole series of posts on the differences between “women” and “ladies” and how the “women” of today are part of the problem.
“You’re welcome, future daughters-in-law.” Hahaha!! Amen to that. 🙂
As a senior in high school(I graduate in one week, woohoo!), I’m surrounded by 18-yea-olds who act like they’re 2. I know almost no chivalrous guy my age, except for maybe a couple in my youth group. I love that you’re teaching your sons to be gentlemen! Keep up the good work! 🙂
Marissa– Congrats on your graduation!! 🙂
My boys love to open the door for me at places. I have to try extra hard to teach them to be gentlemen because they don’t have a father around as an example. I am always proud when they hold the door for others too. Great blog post!
I’m one of the daughters-in-law who thanks her mother-in-law for raising a gentleman! My husband had to re-train me in so many ways. By the time we started dating, I was an independent, I-can-do-it-for-myself 24 year old. I know that’s not that old, but I had the mentality that if I wanted to be respected I had to do everything for myself. We’ve been married for almost 2 years, and together for a little over 3 years, and I’m still learning to let go and let him open the door for me. Or when he asks if he can carry something for me, I’m re-training myself to say “Yes, thank you” instead of “I can do it.” He knows I can do it. He only asks to do that because he loves me and wants to take care of me.
Our little girl is due in July and I’m SO excited for her to grow up to see what a Godly, chivalrous man looks like. 🙂
Love this!! I think we ladies can all be guilty of this, Katie Beth. I know that my husband gets frustrated with me from time to time when I’m surprised that he opens the car door for me or something like that. Sometimes I just forget. And being the type-A personality that I am, I’m terrible at asserting my independence, too. I refer to my point above and remind myself too that if we want to be treated as ladies, we have to act like it. 🙂 Thanks for the excellent reminder!
You said, “In my home boys and girls are not equals because we were created differently.” Do you think you’d feel differently if you also had a daughter?
I’m not saying we were created the same, but in a world where women are simultaneously expected to be as good, strong, and successful as men, but are still taken advantage of in many ways because they’re women, I feel like I need to encourage my daughter to be independent, self-reliant, and strong. I never want her to feel less than, especially just because she’s a girl.
That said, my son I absolutely taught to be a gentlemen. More than that, he’s taught to be a kind person to all. He is taught that there is some distinction between boys and girls–men and women, but he’s taught that we’re all human. He’s 5 years old, and he always holds the door for me and my daughter. He absolutely wouldn’t fight a girl. These things he knows, of course. I teach him to be respectful to females especially, because we are different than males.
Please don’t misunderstand, I agree with the great majority of what you’ve said, it’s just that as the mom of both a son and a daughter, it’s very important for me to stress to my children–and any one else when the subject arises–that no one, male or female, should ever feel less than for any reason.
How do you make this distinction with your boys?
Such a good question, Danielle!!
I definitely did not mean to imply that I teach my boys that girls are “less than” boys. I don’t feel that way at all– nor do I expected to be treated that way. I think that treating me as a lady and living as a gentleman is a way that my boys show me respect– and that’s what all humans deserve. I’m as good as any man and if I had a daughter I’d teach her the same. She could be anything she wanted to be and do anything she set her mind to. My parents raised me the same way.
That being said, I do believe that boys and girls are different and were created differently for innate and different purposes (Biblical truth here). I’m not a feminist. I believe in respect, independence and equality as human beings, but I’m frustrated by women who demand to be treated AS men, not with respect as women. We do ourselves a disservice for our gender when we set it aside to “become” men.
If I had a daughter, I’d tell her that she is perfect as God created her, and because of that, she should expect and demand respect from men. I’d teach her to be a lady in all circumstances, whether she was a stay-at-home mom or an astronaut. I’d teach her that she could be anything that she wanted to be, but I wouldn’t let her, for example, play tackle football on a boys team. The line in the sand, for me, is when a girl demands to be treated as a lady but doesn’t act like one. Same for boys– if he wants respect as a man, he needs to command it through his behavior and convictions, showing integrity in all situations.
Does that make sense? 🙂