Are we losing the battle of raising gentlemen? Does the world even value these traditional traits anymore?
Is There Room In Today’s World For Gentlemen?
I refuse to make an excuse for these expectations, even in a climate frowning upon such gentleman basics. The threat may be a misperceived notion that I am teaching my boys that women are either less- or un-able to care for themselves. In actuality, my sons are being taught that the role of women is sacred and respected. The role of women is pivotal in my life and in the lives of my children and grandchildren.
The Weaker Sex
I have to laugh in considering women are the ‘weaker sex.’ If it were up to men to have babies, the population would have fizzled out years before the availability of epidurals; which would be the war cry of every man that ever suffered even a singular contraction. So no, I’ve never believed that women are the weaker sex.
The women in my life have been a driving force and example. They have been a foundation of encouragement, appearing when things go a little sideways. My own mother was our mediator, accountant, confidant, chef, transportation, spiritual guide, judge, and source of unconditional love.
So, I will ask, “Weaker sex?” Not by a long-shot.
My father doted on my mother (yes, doted is a word). He did everything he could to make her happy, including the dishes.
Growing up, my father was many things: breadwinner, disciplinarian, comedian (self-professed), protector, and most importantly, my mother’s husband. This may sound obvious, but his role as a husband was the one which provided the best training for his “sons.”
There was no inkling of doubt that my mother was the most important person in my father’s life. He taught his sons the importance of her role and the way he expected us to treat her. Again, this was in large part due to his doting and example.
The result is that my sons were trained the same way. My sons (five of them, yes five) watched me dote on their mother their entire lives. And in the present tense, they continue to watch how I treat their mother. This is by no means to say that I’m perfect in that regard (thanks for thinking this though, you were thinking that, right?). it does mean that I continue to perform the same acts that I taught and expected of them while they were growing up.
Not talking back.
Putting down the toilet seat (yes, I said it).
All of my sons are married now. My daughters-in-law are still able to look at how my sons treat their mother to this day. The same expectations are in place. My daughters-in-law also know they are entitled to the same treatment. And if they don’t receive this same respect, they need only mention it to their father-in-law (this guy). Actually, my sons have a tendency to keep each other in check, making my life exponentially easier in that department.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my son-in-law here. He treats my daughter with love and respect and dotes on her. As a father, I couldn’t ask for anything more. (Atta’ boy Roy!).
When my wife and I were dating and first met my parents, she could tell right away she wanted a relationship like theirs. She was able to see the way I treated my mom and was able to talk to me about some of our life expectations. It was comforting to know I wanted what my parents had in their relationship, and my wife could see that.
What Did We Learn
What does this mean? Put your mother on a pedestal? Not necessarily, but sometimes.
There is a glimmer of hope with every “next” generation and the choices they make. We all love a story of when someone breaks the mold and succeeds.
There is an old saying for women as they date and choose a partner, “Watch how they treat their mother.” FACT. The way a man treats his mother will more than likely be very reflective of the way that he will treat you.
Originally published at Rusty Ellis.