Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Chivalry Ain't Dead!

I have always been an “old soul.” I wear dresses (I’d add petticoats too if I didn’t think people would gawk!), some of my favorite celebrities are Ann Margaret and Frank Sinatra, and I love my cast iron skillet. Over Christmas, Shane’s uncles and I laughed as we realized my personal tagline should be, “I like to cook and bake and be in bed by 8!” I mean come on, what 24-year-old do you know in this century asked for a sewing machine and spatulas for Christmas? 

Along with these attributes, I am also a big believer in the “old school” views of family, marriage, and gender roles. Yes, I am ecstatic for my right to vote, my competitive salary based on my merit and not on my gender, and that I can live on my own and not need a man to change my light bulbs. I do believe, though, that there were some things that America has “grown out of” and we may not be better off because of it.

Although I have always had very strong goals and dreams for myself and my career, I knew that my number one calling in life is to be a wife and a mother. I believe that those will be my most influential and important occupations…if I don’t throw myself into those things, I will have failed. I believe a marriage is a partnership but also that the husband is called to be the head of the household. Why? Because God called husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Christ laid down his life for his Church and didn’t make any decisions based on power or greed or submission… he made them all out of love and based on what was best for his bride. This doesn’t mean that the wife doesn’t have a say or isn’t an “equal,” it simply means that she is trusting her husband to lead her the way God intended. 

Call me Southern (GRITS- Girls Raised In The South), but I am also a huge believer in chivalry! Contrary to popular belief, it is not dead. On our first date, Shane, who had recently moved to Florida from New England, opened my car door for me and he has been doing it ever since. Most men in the South don’t even do that anymore, and I knew that wonderful man was rare that first night because he respected me enough to uphold the traditions of old. Why? They worked! If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right? Every time I hop in the truck as Shane hold the door open for me, I am so grateful for who he is and how he views me as a woman. If a man is respectful in the little things, he will be respectful in the big things. 

This by no means indicates that women are damsels or are incapable of thinking and doing things for themselves. It simply is a gesture of love and tradition that radiates so much more than just holding a door open. 

Last week at a company-wide meeting on leadership at work, I arrived at the last minute and was looking for an empty seat. I spotted one in the front corner of the room near some of my co-workers but it was an awkward maneuvering to get to that corner chair. The presenters and “higher ups” of the company were standing near and I smiled as I attempted to get to my seat. Low and behold, I was astonished to realize that a new higher-up director of our company, one who came from the military and would later give his presentation on leader- and followership, stepped up to pull the chair out for me and waited as I sat down. This was such a sweet gesture, so unexpected and appreciated, and it let me know that not only did “his mama raise him right,” but also that he understood the impact of chivalry and respect. And you know what else? It really made me believe what he talked about later on. He is proving himself as good leader because he cares about the people around him. He understands that chivalry isn’t dead and it takes kindness and respect for those under and near you to be successful. 

So call me old school (no really, I hear it quite often) but I just believe that there are certain traditions that we had right the first time. Shane treats me with respect, and I him, and this will always allow me to rest assured that he will lead our family in the way that is best for all of us. I also know that, because of this, we will be able to show our children what it takes to be ladies and gentlemen through the example we set. They will understand that it isn’t about power or inability or manipulation. When a lady acts like a lady of poise, personality, and self-respect, it allows men to truly act like a man of brawn and chivalry. Now THAT is the kind of world I want to live in.

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