Gentlemanly/Womanly Respect

I wrote this post several years ago but it bears repeating after my husband and I witnessed an appalling scene at the Calgary Stampede last week.  A young man and woman got into quite an altercation at one of the eating venues on the fairgrounds.  The language these two young people hurled at one another loudly caused me to cringe.  If “sticks and stones” break bones, I’m sure the obscenities and vulgarities left a scarring, shattered imprint on their hearts as well!

I have been involved in a series of conversations lately with regards to men and women treating each other with respect…namely with their actions.  One Facebook discussion focused on whether or not women like men to help carry heavy grocery bags etc. for them.  Interestingly enough, most women who responded enjoy it when a man acts in a “gentlemanly manner” towards them.  In fact, I had to comment that my sweet husband not only carries heavy bags for me, he opens doors for me, never gets into the car without first opening the door for me, and he walks on the outside of the sidewalk (nearest to the curb) so if water or mud should splash up from a passing car, he would get splattered, not me!  It’s just a little thing, but it speaks volumes to me how he treats me with gentlemanly respect.

So it begs the question…is acting in gentlemanly or womanly respect an outdated concept for BOTH men and women?

Let me give a recent example…My sweet children, bless their unrefined little hearts, have no problem belching (or worse) in front of friends, family and members of the opposite sex.  My son takes pride in the fact he can belch the entire alphabet!  Now, I understand that in some cultures it is a form of a compliment to belch after an evening meal thus indicating to the host that the meal was well appreciated, however I am appalled when my children decide the dinner table is an appropriate place for a belching contest … and I KNOW it’s not to applaud my culinary skills!

I have noticed that the youth today do not care who opens doors, just as long as someone does.  It’s more or less a race to get in or out the door anyway.  I get a little irritated when they barrel into one another, or worse…ME…when I am trying to go out a door.  Not cool…especially at church!

There have been countless times where I have had to put up chairs and tables for a church event, while more robust young men stood around and watched me.  The idea of helping me never even crossed their minds.  Thank goodness I have no problem asking for help even though they might grumble and complain the whole time!

Now I am overgeneralizing…we have an amazing group of youth at our church, and for the most part, they are polite and respectful around me, but still I see that acting like gentlemen and “young ladies” around one another is a foreign concept to them.

There are definitely some theories as to why this is.  The feminist movement in the 60’s and 70’s caused women to want to be treated as equals and over the past thirty years men have done just that.  Men do not stand up on the bus for a woman anymore so she can have a seat.  In fact, I saw an exchange years back where a man offered his seat to a young woman on the C-Train, and she swore at him!  No wonder, men do not treat us with respect!  Men have allowed women to “pick up the tab” at restaurants and have in many ways become subservient in the home and some may even say in the church.  The spiritual leadership in the home has fallen in recent years to wives, with men relinquishing the role that according to scripture is a duty that must rest with the male head of the household.  (Ephesians 5:22-33)

I direct you to read a great blog on modesty I read recently.  The author gives a good interpretation on what “biblical modesty” is all about.

So I’m interested in knowing your thoughts on the subject.  Is gentlemanly/womanly respect a thing of the past?  Is it too late to train our children to be respectful of one another?  Should we be teaching appropriate etiquette to our children or is that too a thing of the past?

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5 Responses to Gentlemanly/Womanly Respect

  1. Marianne says:

    When I see a family in a resteraunt that is well behaved and respectful it gives me hope that it is possible. Since cHildren learn by example, and adults can choose to be respectful, it may be hard to chane habits, buyt can be done through and with God

  2. Sally says:

    Hi Lynn — I found you via The High Calling.

    This post touched a chord in me. I had written along similar lines several months ago reminiscing about a dance teacher I had who ended every class with these words, “Whereever you go, whatever you do, always remember to be a lady or a gentleman.”

    I’m not sure how much this is taught today.

    I enjoyed your post.

    Sally

  3. shanyns says:

    Our children model what we teach them, they can learn to accept that not everything that is popular is right. My son models his Daddy and both are true gentlemen. I always compliment people who show good manners and act like ladies and gentlemen, no matter their age. I am an independent woman who has to take care of many things on my own, and have worked in male dominated fields for most of my life. I still act like, and expect to be treated like a lady. The only times that didn’t apply were pulling calves, fighting fires and responding to accidents. 🙂 Wonderful post, great blog. So glad to have found you.

  4. Lynn Mosher says:

    Oh, so true, Lynn! I agree whole-heartedly! I believe hubs and I have taught our kiddos (two boys and one girl) to be polite…to everyone! My sweet hubs always opens doors for me. However, the world doesn’t seem to follow the same courtesies!

  5. Carol says:

    Hello! Interesting post.
    I think the grossest example of ungentlemanly behavior comes in the form of watching women/girls be sexually abused and degraded for entertainment and pleasure. I am of course talking about the astonishing rates of pornography use within the church. If Gods own people sit back and watch evil, then where will any ideas of “proper” male/female behavior come from? .

    How would a man have any feelings of guilt about a woman opening her own door, carrying in heavy groceries, setting up chairs, or not setting up seats when he daily relishes seeing females destroyed body and soul for his own pleasure?

    The disrespect of humanity goes much deeper than manners.

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