Chivalry: Strategies for Teaching Boys the Lost Art of Being Gentlemen

8306136314Remember When…

  • Men held the doors for ladies.
  • Men didn’t curse in front of women and children.
  • Men stood when a lady entered the room.
  • Men treated ladies with decency and respect.
  • Men were men.

The sad truth is that many of you reading this article cannot remember those days.  Today many men have forgotten what it means to be a gentleman, and as a result, women have forgotten what it feels like to be treated like a lady.

Who is to Blame

Is it the Women?

I suppose I could blame the Feminist movement for  the fact that men no longer act like gentlemen.  I remember one day, when entering a restaurant, I held the door for a lady only to be criticized by her for thinking that she was not strong enough to open the door for herself.  The truth is, I never thought about how strong she was.  I held the door for her because it was something I had been raised to do.

Women today certainly have no grounds for complaining about the lack of chivalry among the male population.  For years they have been crying for equal treatment.  “We want to be treated just like a man!”

Be careful what you wish for, I say.  Boys have been trained in our institutes of public indoctrination, that they should not treat girls any differently than boys.  Is it any wonder they don’t open doors anymore?  Is it any wonder that men now curse around women as if it does not matter?  Truthfully, many women curse as much as the men.  In my opinion, they have just gotten what they asked  for, and now they don’t like it.

Is it the Culture?

As I have said, popular culture discourages differentiating between the genders, even though we know that this is ridiculous.

The Real Culprit

I don’t blame the culture.  I don’t blame the female population.  I blame the men who allowed themselves to be bullied into changing their behavior.  Part of being a man is standing up for what is right.  As I told that lady the day she criticized me for holding the door: “I didn’t hold the door for you because you are a lady.  I held the door for you because I am a gentleman.”  She didn’t like that answer.

Teaching My Boys To Be Gentlemen

So how do I teach this ancient behavior to my boys in a society that officially discourages it, but secretly misses it?  Simple…I expect it.  Let me give you some of the things I do to instill the principles of chivalry in my boys:

  • I require them the treat their mother and sister with respect.  In our home. Mommy’s and sisters are not for rough-housing.  (This is hard to explain to my daughter, but it is what it is.)
  • I teach them to open the door for their mother and let her and their sister walk through the door first.
  • I instruct them on how to defend themselves and their sister when they are out playing with other children. (Yes, I tell them to defend their sister, even if it means beating up another boy who is picking on her.  Get over it.)
  • I teach them that it is the man’s job to protect, provide and defend their families.  My boys are excited about the day when they can have their own family to defend.  When I go on an overnight business trip, I leave one of my boys in charge.  They love this.  They want to be the protector.
  • I put them in positions of responsibility, such as providing a service for their sister, or helping their mother in the house.  As they grow, I hope to increase these responsibilities.

One of the best ways to teach my boys about chivalry is to model it in their lives.  What would I be teaching them if I were to mistreat their mother?  What would they learn about being protectors, if I was physically abusive to their mother or sister.

Far too many young boys today are learning to be abusers rather than protectors.  Where are they learning it?  They are learning it, not from society or women.  They are learning it from the men in their lives.


Do you agree with me?  Do you disagree?  Leave a comment and let me know if you think I am on track.