I was recently making a short road trip to take something to one of my children; it seems to me that I run around more for my adult kids than I did when they lived in my house. Because I have reached an age where my body’s “storage capacities” are rather...diminished, it has become essential to make frequent stops and to be aware of those places where the aforementioned stops are possible. One doesn’t want to be faced with the prospect of a “rest stop” on the side of the road.
But I digress...
On this particular trip I decided to stop at a McDonald’s. I pulled, parked, and exited the car, making my way to the building. I arrived at the door at roughly the same time as one of the employees. I spoke to the young lady and held open the door for her. She attempted to defer to me, but I insisted that she go first, saying “my mamma taught me that ladies always go first.” The smile that spread across her face made whatever delay my chivalry caused disappear faster than a piece of chocolate at my house when my wife isn’t home.
Before heading back to the car I decided that I would get a small drink for the rest of the trip back (Root Beer, thank you, it’s caffeine free) and made my way to the counter to place the order. Who should be standing there but the young lady with the precious smile that I had encountered at the door earlier. We chatted for a moment; she thanked me again for holding the door for her earlier; stating that chivalry was not dead. I told her that we had tried to teach respect for all women to our sons. She looked surprised and thanked me for being willing to “break the mold” and that she hoped I would have a blessed day. I returned her wishes and returned to my car.
I have two daughters; they are the joy of my life, even though they have both broken my heart by getting married and running off to other states to live. I attempted to consistently model for them the way a man should treat a woman, as a great and precious treasure. I mean no disrespect or demeaning towards women, I simply believe that a man, any man, should treat women with honor, and that honor should manifest itself in things like opening doors, deferring to women, and generally submitting graciously to a woman’s desires. As a matter of fact; we have tried to teach all our children to treat all persons with honor and respect, regardless of sex or color or age. We saw this lesson as being important enough that we taught our daughters to expect such treatment and to not be involved with a man who not treat her accordingly and we taught our sons that they would treat all women in that manner.
Why is this important? We were teaching our children that all life was important and worthy of honor and respect. We have attempted to raise color-blind children in regards to race or culture. All persons are created in the image of our Creator and by virtue of that fact alone are worthy of our respect. “Please”, “thank you,” and “yes sir” and “no sir” (and ma’am) are vanishing from our culture and are being replaced with a familiarity that only serves to demean the honor and worth of all persons. That sounds like an outrageous statement on the surface but I believe that we only have to look back over the last 25 years or so to see how our treatment of each other has deteriorated.
The change must and can only begin at home. Dad, start being a gentleman, not only with your wife but with all women and treat others with respect, regardless of any distinction that you might imagine. Mom, start expecting your husband and sons to treat you with honor and respect. Do not allow yourself to be denigrated...God made you special and you should be treated that way by your husbands and sons and any other men in your life. If we are to see genuine, lasting change in our culture it must begin in our homes. It won’t be easy, but perhaps one day a young lady at McDonald’s will smile and thank one of your children for being so polite.
Then it will be worth it.