Friday, October 4, 2013

On Manners and Chivalry

People are always commenting on girls and boys, and how different raising each one is.  "OH man!  You have 2 girls!  That's rough!  Good luck in their teenage years!  Boys are so easy!"  Or sometimes I hear, "Boys are so wild!  I can't believe how different girls are!"  Either way, there are apparently differences between raising the two, although I currently wouldn't know. ;)

But the other day something happened, that made me realize it really isn't very different, raising girls and boys.  We were walking into a store, and there is a college right near.  There were 2 boys walking about 10 steps ahead of us, who were clearly college students.  We were both approaching the door from different angles, so although ahead of us, they definitely saw us and knew we were there.  An 8 month pregnant woman, her mom, a 3 year old, and an 18 month old.  They walked through the door.  As we reached the door, it had not even fully closed from when they went through (that's how close we were to them).  Reilly said, out of nowhere - "Mommy, why didn't those boys hold the door for us?"

So interesting, I thought.  I looked at my mom, and said, "I don't know, honey, that's a good question.  It's polite to hold the door for other people, isn't it?"  Now you might think I'm about to talk about how chivalry is dead, and boys should hold doors for girls. Wrong.  I believe everyone should hold the door for EVERYONE.  I would be just as annoyed if a woman had not held the door for us too.  I mean, how rude.

I fully expect that the boy Reilly and Reagan will marry one day will a door-holder.  Their Daddy is a door-holder, and this will be the standard to which they will measure the ones they meet.  It's one of the things that first drew my attention to their Daddy - he was a gentleman.  He opened doors (for everyone, all the time - not just me), he opens my car door, he pulls out my chair, he brings the car around in the rain.  Or the cold.  Or when I'm in really high shoes.  I am so happy that this is the man who God chose for me - and the man who God chose to raise our daughters.

Have the door held open for them - it's what they deserve, it's what they have seen, it's what they have learned to be acceptable and polite.  But do you know who else they have seen hold doors?  Their Mommy.  I hold doors for anyone behind me, male or female, as I think everyone should. Manners do not go by gender, and even a three year old can see that. 

But the interesting part is, they learn these things young.  Like, really young.  She already knows that not holding the door for a person is rude, although I never even said those words to her.  She just watches - observes.  She sees how people react when we hold the door for them, she sees how appreciative Mommy is when someone holds the door for us.  (And she sees how peeved Mommy gets when someone waltzes through pretending they don't see the pregnant woman with the toddlers and the stroller.)  Either way, raising boys and girls is not that different.  I act how I want them to act. I speak how I wish they would speak. I try to be who I wish they would be.  And then I pray that they imitate me. I hope that they will always have a door held open for them.

And even more, I hope they will always hold the door for others.  They better or Mama's gunna remind them of this story. :)

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