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Teaching your sons to open doors for women

There is my castle, now I just need my knight in shining armor to ride off into that sunset with.

During the medieval times, there were literally knights in shining armor. During these times, a man who was to be called a knight had to abide by all of the rules that summed up the “knight’s code.” 

Devin Miller  (Mountain Green, Utah)

Father and Husband

Loves BYU

Outdoor enthusiast

The Greatest Generation

My grandfather recently turned 89. Growing up he was a farmer and an educator. Every day he would wake up at 5AM to get the daily chores done, go educate children, and then come home and get back to work on the farm. 

He also served his country during WWII. In so many ways he is a great example of a good man. One of the most impactful examples my grandfather set was how to treat women. I remember growing up, my grandpa would go on walks with my grandma in the evenings. They would always hold hands and talk about their day. On the walks, my grandfather would always walk on the side of my grandmother that was closest to the street. He did this as a way to protect her from oncoming cars. The action was mostly symbolic. It showed that he loved and cared for my grandmother and wanted to protect her. This simple example of caring for my grandmother makes me want to set an example for my son of how to be a real man. 

Daddy-Daughter Date Nights

Last week I wrote a blog post about the importance of Daddy-Daughter dates to teach girls what a real man is. If we are going to teach our daughters what a real man is, we had better teach our sons to be real men. 

We had better teach our sons that when they go on walks with their future wives that they should walk on the side nearest the street. We had better teach our sons to open doors for women. And, we had better teach our sons to walk their dates to the door step rather just park and wave good night from the car. I realize in today’s world this sounds antiquated and old-fashioned. After all, we live in a world where women can do everything men can do, and they can. But, the ability of women to do everything that men can, does not alleviate our duty to care for women.

To teach our sons how to care for women, we need to go back to the medieval times. During the medieval times, there were literally knights in shining armor. During these times, a man who was to be called a knight had to abide by all of the rules that summed up the “knight’s code.”  

Knight's Code

The knight’s code included honor, bravery, courteousness, and honesty. Chivalry was the honor code of the knight. Knights who lived by the code of chivalry were to show self-control, respect to authority and to women, protect the innocent or those weaker or unarmed, they were never to attack an unarmed foe, attack from behind, or use a weapon on an opponent that was not equal to the attack.

They were to administer justice, avoid cheating, lying and torture, and were expected to avenge the wronged. An important part of chivalry was to show respect and gallantry towards women. They would never abandon a friend or noble cause or betray them. They were to exhibit manners, avoid deception, keep one’s word of honor and die with valor.

So how do we teach our sons to open doors, walk on the right side of his future wife, and otherwise treat women with chivalry? Here are just a few ideas:

Words of the Leaders

Share what the leaders of the church have taught about treating women.

 - Photo of President Hinckley's Wedding Day

A. Lynn Scoresby taught, “First I thought women got all the breaks. Then I discovered that by respecting them, I was lifting myself too.” 

President Gordon B. Hinckley taught,” If every husband and every wife would constantly do whatever might be possible to ensure the comfort and happiness of his or her companion, there would be very little, if any, divorce. Argument would never be heard. Accusations would never be leveled. Angry explosions would not occur. Rather, love and concern would replace abuse and meanness.”

3rd Wheel

Invite your son to come with you on a date with your wife. This might not be the most romantic date night, but it is a great opportunity to teach your son how you treat your wife. If you have been slacking on treating your wife with chivalry, it will also give you an opportunity to improve.

Elderly Care

Take your son to an elderly care home. While chivalry may have been lost for the last generation or two, the greatest generation, including my grandpa, still understand chivalry. 

If you go to an elderly care home, you will see men caring for their wives towards the end of their mortal life and see what true love for women is.

Talk with your Sisters

Have your son ask his sisters (or girl cousins if he does not have sisters) what they look for in a man. When they go on a date, what impresses them?

However you teach your sons how to treat women, the most important thing is that you take time to teach them. Remember the words of President Gordon B. Hinckley, “How thankful I am, how thankful we all must be, for the women in our lives. God bless them. May His great love distill upon them and crown them with luster and beauty, grace and faith. And may His Spirit distill upon us as men and lead us ever to hold them in respect, in gratitude, giving encouragement, strength, nurture, and love, which is the very essence of the gospel of our Redeemer and Lord.” As we heed the prophet’s counsel we will raise a generation of strong marriages and strong families.

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