From the movie Rob Roy:
Son: Father, will the MacGregors ever be kings again?
Rob Roy: All men with honor are kings, but not all kings have honor.
Son: What is honor?
Rob Roy: Honor is....what no man can give you, and what no man can take away. Honor is a man's gift to himself.
Son: Do women have it?
Rob Roy: Women are the heart of honor, and we cherish and protect it in them. You must never mistreat a women or malign a man. Or stand by and see another do so.
Son: How do you know you have it?
Rob Roy: Never worry on the getting of it. It grows in you and speaks to you. All you need to do is listen.
I read this movie quote recently in a book for mothers about how to raise men of character. One aspect of doing this is raising a son who knows how to treat women right and is (dare I say it) chivalrous.
Let's face it - chivalry is pretty much dead among the younger male set in this country. I'll spare you my personal opinion on why. Not long ago, my husband and I were stopped at a gas station on our way out of town from his parents. Near us was a young couple, both probably between 18 and 20 years old. I probably would not have otherwise noticed them, but the young man had his tongue so far down the girl's throat that it was hard not to notice. Once he extricated himself from her, he lounged back in the driver's seat while she pumped and paid for the gas and went in and got some drinks and snacks for them. I'm pretty sure he smacked her on the butt when she was coming out. What?!?!?! I nearly peed myself, I was in such a tizzy. I had to hold myself back from running over there and telling her to hold out for something better. Seriously. Hold out and hold on, sister.
I couldn't believe that this was occurring. And we were in Andalusia, Alabama for crying out loud. South Alabama, people. I would have that a town like that would be the last bastion of civility and chivalry, but apparently this disease of male "eww-ness" has infiltrated the ranks there, as well. I see it here at home all the time. A couple of weeks ago, I was going into the gym when I saw a young man that goes to our church about 10 feet in front of me. He saw me, and when he went to open the door, he opened it for himself and let it slam back in my face. Now look, I realize that it may have been 5 o'clock in the afternoon and I was still sans shower, but come on! Is it too much to ask for that guy to hold the door open for Greasy Hair Lady? I think not. I wasn't even asking for him to open it just for me, just continue to holding it open once he went in.
I started to wonder about these young men. Did no one teach them better? Did they not have a father model the behavior? Or maybe they were given a perfect example, but simply have not followed suit in light of what are becoming increasingly bizarre social norms. In any event, it made me begin to think about what I can and should do as a mom to make sure that Deacon, as Rob Roy said, cherishs and protects the honor in women. It's a serious and tall order, indeed.
When I was a summer missionary in Pike County, Kentucky 10 years ago, I stayed with a couple in their 60s who ran the local Baptist Association. One weekend their grandson was in town, probably about 8 or 10 years old. We stopped to get gas. I immediately tried to get out of the car to pump the gas because I wasn't going to let the older lady pump the gas, and I didn't think the young boy was old enough to do it. Boy, did grandmama have me back in my seat lickity split. That boy was gonna pump that gas because that is just what the menfolk do, thank you very much.
That example has stuck with me in these first three years of parenting a boy. At such a young age, it's hard to pass along too much, but we do try to make sure that Deacon says his "ma'ams" and "sirs." We try to encourage him to always get the door and hold it open for women. As a result of some dating horror story I recently heard, I told him I didn't care how old he was, that if I caught him honking the horn for a girl instead of getting out of the car to go get her, I was going to pop his bottom. He just laughed and said, "Mama, you so silly!"
I don't think being honorable for a man is as easy as it was back in Rob Roy's day. Culture hits them at every turn. Peer pressure pushes down on them. My hope and prayer is that my husband and I can teach Deacon what it means to be a man of honor and character. He doesn't know it yet, but he is blessed to have such wonderful examples in his daddy and the other male family members in his life. And more than any self-help book or anecdotal examples from other parents, we know that the Holy Spirit will lead us in the way in this effort.
So Happy Teaching, mothers of boys! What a journey. Oh, and my future daughter-in-law can thank me later.
This blog is the story of my journey from lawyer to stay-at-home mommy. After finding out I was pregnant with baby #2, we decided that we would give it a go for awhile with me staying home with the kids. I worked after having our first child Deacon, so this experience will be a new one for me. I decided to blog mainly so that I would have a memorialization of the process since those first few months with a new baby are a fog anyway. But years from now, whether I never made it back or whether I am spending my days in suits and heels, I want to be able to look back and see what God is teaching me in these days of going from the courtroom to the playroom.