Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Is Chivalry Dead?

(If you haven’t left your two cents yet on the Q4U, you still can. I’d love to read your answer to the question.)

Do your young sons pretend to be knights, fighting dragons and saving damsels?

My sons emerged from their bedroom one morning with blankets tied as capes and wielding swords. “We’ll protect you, Mommy,” they declared. My heart melted with this loving display of chivalry. Hopefully, they will make great husbands some day. But then I remembered incidents with others that have fallen far from the standard of chivalry –

…the boy who pushed in front of my girls at the door of the grocery store.

…the middle-aged man who let the door at the mall fall against me as I was trying to maneuver with my infant in his car seat.

…the young men who shouted obscenities at each other in the presence of me and my children.

Despite the fact that I wish I had the boldness to call them on the carpet, I do nothing. I thank my child and walk through the door.

Hollywood and the media have thrown conflicting ideas at men, and feminism has wielded its’ own mighty sword to deal a heavy blow to masculinity. In our hearts, though, we women want and need chivalry. Young girls may be embarrassed and teen girls may giggle, but a young man’s chivalry is noticed and appreciated.

What is chivalry? Chivalry is associated with the knightly virtues and honor shown to ladies of the court in the Middle Ages. It was not only a religious but also a social and moral code of conduct that promoted honor, courage, and service to others. Chivalry today is derived from the knightly code regarding treatment of women. Knights of the Middle Ages were expected, trained even, to demonstrate a “general gentleness and graciousness to all women.” (Wikipedia)

Is chivalry dead?

When was the last time a modern knight demonstrated a general graciousness to you, a lady? (Hopefully, we at least receive this graciousness from our husbands!)

When was the last time a man opened the door for you or offered to carry a heavy object for you?

Please don’t misunderstand. I am not wanting to malign or bash men. I know many chivalrous men, and I am married to one of them. I am simply noticing the trend in our society. Do you see it too?

Now, continue the discussion of how we can teach our sons this “general graciousness” with the next posts -- Six chivalrous deeds to teach your son and Is "hot" a compliment?

Have you noticed a trend away from chivalry in our culture? Do you think it is an increase in worldliness and ego-centrism or a lack of training?

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  1. The problem is the feminists who have refused to accept the chivalry and even gotten angry about it. This has changed things! Very sad, I think.

    1. As the feminists have rejected it, the men have stopped offering it. Thanks for commenting!

  2. I have to agree with Country Mama. My husband is a delivery/sales person, and he is in and out of businesses all day every day. He recently told me how he holds doors for women all the time, and rarely gets a positive response, like a smile and thanks. Usually they give him a weird look and move on. Makes me sad, especially knowing that he is in a hurry, is carrying heavy supplies, and is just being a genuinely nice person.
    On the other hand, I have been the recipient of lots of courtesy in the last several months. It has surprised me, to be honest, but I always respond with a smile and a warm thank you. I do notice that other women seem surprised when my boys go out of their way to be gentlemen. It's almost like they have renewed hope for the world! :-)
    In situations that aren't as nice...I believe we are reaping the result of a major lack of training. It's filtering into the church, too. Way too many teen boys have no idea of respect and courtesy for women. Sad.

    1. What a great husband, Stephanie! And I think you're right -- a lack of training. That's tomorrow on the blog.... Thanks!

  3. Country Mama is right. I think that the biggest reason chivalry is less common now is because it's less accepted.

    I praise it every time I witness it. I generally exclaim happily, "Chivalry lives!" whenever a man opens a door for a lady, helps her carry something, etc. Going to a small, conservative, Christian school, we have quite a few men here who still know the meaning of the word. My husband is a chivalrous man. So is my brother. Our fathers have taught their sons well, and I know my husband will teach our future sons the same (and I'll definitely encourage it!). I don't think chivalry is completely dead...it is just not appreciated like it once was.

    1. It's a consensus! And I'm glad to hear you all respond positively to chivalry. I smile and say, "Thank you, sir." Not just to thank the door-holder but also to set an example for my children. Thanks, Jaimie!

  4. YES. I see it too. I am SO glad I found your blog through Your Thriving Family. I have FOUR boys age 6 and under and never had brothers so I am a little clueless... can''t wait to hear your other thoughts on this topic.

    On the plus side, I'm married to a knight of sorts, and my boys do love defending their sisters from imaginary bad guys, so that's a good sign :)


    1. I did have one more post planned, but I couldn't get it posted on Friday because my filter went haywire. Sometimes I really don't understand technology. How can one little thing that has worked fine for months suddenly go crazy? Anyway, I'll try for next week. Thanks, Emily. Appreciate your knight!


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