I felt the LORD leading me to write on the topic of chivalry. It is an area (actually one of many) that He has been working on in my life. When I think of chivalry, what comes to mind is a man holding a door open for a lady, or pulling out a chair for her to sit, helping her into a car, giving up one’s seat for a lady, carrying something heavy for her (or it may not exactly be heavy, but just to be chivalrous and gentlemanly), and many other ways.
It seems to be true, as the saying goes, that ‘chivalry is dead’ in our society today. How often do we see a man out in public go out of their way to open a door for a lady? How about just holding it open a few seconds longer after they walk in? Well, just the other day I was walking into a store and a young man walked in right in front of me, and I got a door in my face! It seems that most men and young men care nothing of chivalry! I will not say all, because I have had doors held open for me on occasion in public. But the majority of men in the modern world seem not to notice, or just not care. Why should they put out a little extra effort and be a tidbit self giving? That surely is not what is taught or shown as an example anywhere in society. It’s a “what I can do, or what I can get out of something” mentality. Why are men of today not acting like they should?…like real men?
Well, this answer seemed to have been answered to me one day around a year or so ago. I was with some relatives, and we were getting in a car to go somewhere, and a guy jumped in the front seat. One of the girls said, “Hey! You’re supposed to be a gentleman and let the ladies sit up front!” His reply was something like, “Well, when girls start actually acting like girls, then maybe some guys will man up and act like men.” What a true statement! Half the women out there look like men, and the other half, yes maybe look like women, but due to their clothing (or lack there of), are looked upon as an object, not as a person. Why – or it could be said how – should a man act as a gentleman, when there are no ladies in which to do that?? Or when they do, a common attitude in reaction would show obvious irritation, defensiveness, or a total ignorance.
As I mentioned before: this is an area God has been working on me, and still is. I used to have just that attitude: “I can do it myself! I don’t need any help, especially if it is from a man!” This feminist attitude became even more strong as I became a “teenager”. I wanted to be independent, and I wanted it to be noticed by everyone. I remember one time my family, some friends, and I were taking a hike up to the White Rocks. We got to a part where we had to climb onto some higher rocks. One of my friends (male) climbed up first and offered his hand to me to help me up. I completely ignored him and climbed up myself. That seemed to have been my common attitude. That is the attitude of the majority of women in the world today. Just because it is most common, does it make it right? Absolutely not! Thankfully the LORD changed my heart considerably! Now I admire and respect a man who acts chivalrously. I love when doors are opened for me! It makes me feel more like a lady! This change of heart did not come ovenight, or very easily!
The LORD has had to be continually working with me, and reminding me of this. Still I have to check myself, and re-word (okay…completely change ? ) what I was going to say. Like when we get to house-church, we have our big Bible bag, a diaper bag, and usually a few food dishes to bring in, and when we are greeted, I am usually carrying something, and a man, or young man asked if I would like them to carry it in for me. The answer that is at the tip of my tongue is, “No thank you, I’ve got it”. I have to stop myself and say instead, “yes thank you, that would be nice!” Or when it is raining, the young men already there usually walk out with umbrellas to walk the ladies and children inside. My first reaction to this was, “Thanks, but I have my own umbrella.” Now, I think of it as such a wonderful, chivalrous, and unselfish act, and respond accordingly.
I am not saying it is wrong for a girl to carry something. That’s silly! And unrealistic. The LORD has blessed me with being strong. Often I am shopping with my mommy, and we have to get cat food, or dog food. We have three dogs, and one is a Great Pyrenees, so we have to buy dog food often and we get 50 lb bags! So I lift it into the cart without much difficulty. But when a man comes by and offers to lift it for me, I thank them, and allow them to do it for me. Is it because I can’t? No, but because it may help them to stand up to be a man. They don’t need to know whether or not I could have done it myself.
Then there are times when a man is carrying something heavy, and I will open the door for him. That’s just plain politeness and kindness. Or if a man drops something, I’ll sometimes help pick it up. When my dad wants to go out in the woods and cut down trees, I’ll be there to help and will help carry them to where they are needed.
All this to say, that when responding to a chivalrous or gentlemanly act, not only should we REACT like a lady, but we should initiate the act. Not by standing in front of a door, wait for a man to walk by and tell him to open it for you! ? (hee-hee-ha-ha!!) But by, first, acting like a lady. If we are dressed femininely, it may prompt, or encourage, a man to act like a man.
I hope this encourages someone, but more importantly brings glory to God.