Isn’t it swell when guys have good manners? I haven’t stopped believing that boys can be real gentlemen. The world gives a contrary message, but I don’t buy it. Parents just need to be intentional about formation. What does that look like? Here, for your consideration, are some ways we’ve worked it into daily life at the McDonald home.
- First up, Dad models what it is to be an attentive man- how a man treats his wife is watched and imitated by his little men. Example, example, example, has the most impact.
- Between brothers and sisters, there is an expectation of respectful exchange. There is discouragement of the popular message that siblings are a pain to each other. Children don’t discount their brothers and sisters naturally. It is an attitude that is encouraged, with stereotypical statements that reinforce disrespect. The “annoying” little sister, or “pest” brother, doesn’t have to exist in the home. Instead, young gentlemen and ladies stick up for those they love. No verbal put-downs.
- Boys learn to open doors for Mommy and his sister(s). They step up to the plate early on, starting even at three or four years old.
- Young fellows are asked to let a lady of any age enter a room first. A show of the hand, gently motioning the lady forward is something a caring young man can be shown.
- The example of assisting girls and ladies with carrying parcels, bags, or whatever, is something they can grow in as they grow in strength.
- Offering a lady a chair is becoming more of a rarity. Lets show our boys the value of this courtesy.
- Offering a lady his hand or arm in escort, be it when trekking through snow, across the wet or slippery pavement, up an incline, or wherever there is call, is noble and chivalrous. Let your son(s) be “knights” in the modern way. 🙂
- Learning to have polite conversation and using appropriate words, even when upset, is a cultivated skill and grace.
- Looking another in the eye is important. It sometimes takes practice.
- Learning how to shake another man’s hand with good firmness, and to make self-introduction is one mark of a gentleman.
Knowing social graces such as ordering meal with politeness, how to push a lady’s chair in, and pouring a glass of water (or such) is very helpful. Learning the basics of ballroom dance is a bonus. 🙂 Our boys can practice pushing a lady’s chair in and good table manners. Helping a gal with her coat, or the many little ways to honour the opposite sex will give a young man a greater appreciation of how special is the gift of grandmothers, mothers, daughters, and sisters. It all takes a little work, but over time can be accomplished. This gives great pride to a young man to have these things under his belt. It builds confidence and ease in social situations. Don’t underestimate how polished our children can become.
Of course a real gentleman is sincere and cares for those around him. Being a man of God isn’t just about the externals. What is fostered interiorly shines through on the outside.
In all this, it isn’t only about what a young man is, but very much also about what a young lady is. My next article will be about the very thing – Make a Lady of Your Daughter.
🙂 It is fun, beautiful, and brings greater attachment, respect, peace, and joy to the home – let us all lift standards a bit and enjoy the results!
I welcome feedback or communication at : firstname.lastname@example.org
God bless you.