Chivalry, It’s Up to Us!

emilymay2007My daughter Emily (17) came home from high school thoroughly disgusted. Emily is a very upbeat, happy spirit and she loves everybody and everything, so it shocked me to see her upset. She only attends 2 classes at our local charter school, and is very studious and diligent in her homeschool assignments. She tells me regularly that she loves homeschooling best, which brings me great delight!

Anyway, Emily was upset. Turns out that she had to go to a Senior Graduation meeting and when she arrived at the building, the boys didn’t think to open her door, but just walked in, in front of her, letting the door slam in her face. As she got to the classroom for the meeting, the seats were all taken—by boys! Many girls stood through the long meeting, and the big, strong football players lounged in the chairs without even a glint of recognition on their faces.

“Where are the mothers?” is always my war-cry! It takes mothers (and fathers) teaching kids to be respectful and mannerly, and if moms are occupied otherwise, the whole generation suffers from a plague of rudeness!

The next time Emily was summoned to a Senior Graduation meeting, the teacher had written on the chalkboard, “Boys: Give Up Your Seats”. She was a rather old-fashioned teacher, and apparently it had bothered her too. But, even with the posted notice, the boys did not all give up their seats. But the big surprise was that there were enough who did that there were empty seats in the classroom. There were also girls standing, who refused to sit down. (What!????)

How can boys possibly learn to be chilvarous if girls will not even allow them? How did this gentlemanly thing go so hay-wire?

Moms, Dads: it is up to us! Let’s teach our boys that someone female will bear their children someday and make a family for them to be loved by, and to come home to, and to work for, and to give their life meaning. Please, let’s teach our girls that boys honor that someday possibility by treating the whole feminine gender with respect and kind consideration, and to shun it is to do themselves (and other women and girls) a disservice.

Rudeness doesn’t have to be the order of the day. It is all in the hands of parents—what we model, what we teach, what we expect.


May I recommend:

You Go First

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Uncommon Courtesy

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Company’s Coming!

Summer and company go together like bread and butter. Consider what a visit from this special guest would be like! It makes me want to re-evaluate everything I say and do in light of His company, and be far better than I am.



If Jesus came to your house to spend a day or two,
If He came unexpectedly, I wonder what you’d do?

Oh, I know you’d give your nicest room to such an honored guest,
And all the food you’d serve to Him would be the very best.

And you would keep assuring Him you’re glad to have him there,
That serving Him in your home is joy beyond compare.

But when you saw Him coming, would you meet Him at the door,
With arms outstretched to welcome in your heavenly visitor?

Or would you have to change your clothes before you let Him in,
Or hide some magazines and put the Bible where they’d been?

Would you turn off the radio and hope He hadn’t heard,
And wished you hadn’t uttered that last, loud, nasty word.

Would you hide your worldly music and put some hymn books out?
Could you let Jesus come right in, or would you rush about?

Oh, I wonder if the Savior came to spend a day with you,
Would you just go on doing all the things you always do?

Would you go right on saying the things you always say?
Would life for you continue as it does now day to day?

Would our family conversation keep up it’s usual pace,
Or would you find it hard each meal to say a table grace?

Would you sing the songs you always sing and read the books you read,
And let Him know on which the things your mind and spirit feeds?

Would you take Jesus with you everywhere you planned to go,
Or would you maybe change your plans, for just a day or so?

Would you be glad to have Him meet with all your closest friends,
Or would you hope they’d stay away until His visit ends?

Would you be glad to have Him stay forever on and on,
Or would you sigh with great relief when He at last was gone?

It might be interesting to know the things that you would do,
If Jesus came in person to spend the day with you!

                              ~ Lois Blanchard Eades



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Company Manners

Emily turns 15 with her towering ice cream cake!

Emily turns 15 with her towering ice cream cake!

Company’s coming . . . and it can be a bit nerve-wracking wondering just what your kids are going to say or do! Get them ready to host guests—or to be good, mannerly guests themselves—wherever you go!

I know I find myself reciting a long list of “be sure you don’t” and “remember to . . .” as we turn up the driveway—not exactly the best teaching moment. Start the lesson right now and keep it simple: just 4 rules to remember when you go to someone’s house!

1. Be grateful
Even if you have had spaghetti every night this week, it’s not going to fly if you blurt out, “Oh no, not spaghetti AGAIN” when the hostess brings out her special dish!

2. Be helpful
Keep your eyes open to find a chance to help set the table, move chairs, hold the baby, or give up your place for someone else. Everyone loves a guest that helps!

3. Be content
Don’t ask for things. The people you are visiting have done what they can to make it pleasant for you. If they are serving water, don’t ask for juice. If they offer you a sleeping bag, don’t ask why you can’t sleep in the waterbed. The only exception to this rule is a reasonable request for something basic that they have accidentally overlooked (such as toilet paper).

4. Be fun
Be willing to participate in whatever is planned. If they want to play games, you’re in. If caroling is their joy, you sing too. Be game to do things—be fun to have around!

Just 4 rules.  (Grateful Helpful Content Fun)

Everyone will want to invite you back!


May I recommend:

Chivalry, It’s Up to Us!

Sweet Civility!

Extraordinary Manners

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Polite Answers


More and more we are seeing children who just don’t reply when they are spoken to. (In fact, I have a daughter who occasionally falls into this category!) Shyness may be an excuse, but really it is not okay to be still when you are spoken to! Even for the young. What’s a mother to do?

First course of action is to do some training. This can be plenty of fun. Bring a few hats for props and some name tags to dress up your kids. “Mrs. Jones” can wear the flowered hat and “Mr. Jones” can wear a baseball cap, for example. Now, take turns having “Mr. Jones” introduce his “wife” to one of your family. Role play it first, so they know just what is expected. Then switch around and let everyone have a turn.

Wait a minute, though. Just what is expected?

*sustained eye contact

*a smile

*some polite words of acknowledgment (such as how do you do?, nice to meet you, hello, I’m glad to meet you, I’ve heard good things about you, you have a daughter my age, right? etc.)

*a mildly firm handshake

When making introductions, always speak the name of the older person first. If you can give some info, it will help the conversation go easier. If you have mutual friends or hobbies, include them. If you mention how you know each other, it gives people some base from which to talk.

Here’s some silly scripts to play around with. You can type up your own and role play them, having older children (or parents) whisper their parts to them. Practice makes perfect!

Mr. Jones: Wifey, dear, I’d like to introduce you to Susie-Q.

Mrs. Jones: Oh, hello my cute-sy little angel.

Susie-Q: I am very glad to meet you!

Mr. Jones: Susie-Q and I both go to the same library.

Mrs. Jones: Well, reading is quite a delightful pastime! Have you read Charlotte’s Web?

Billy: Mr. Smith, I’d like you to meet my mother. Mother, this is Mr. Jones, my choir teacher.

Mommy: I’ve heard good things about you, Mr. Jones.

Mr. Jones: The pleasure is all mine.

Mommy: It must be wonderful listening to all these little darlings sing!

Daddy: Mr. President, I’d like to introduce my daughter Scrambled Eggs.

Mr. President: I’m happy to meet such a sunshiney little girl with such a unique name!

Scrambled Eggs: Hello. I voted for you!

Mr. President: What a charming little nut-kin.


Once you feel like you have practiced to perfection, go to someplace where you can make introductions and watch your children shine! Politeness is always in style!


May I recommend:

You Go First

Chivalry, It’s Up to Us!

Uncommon Courtesy

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You Go First



When I was a little girl, I used to dream about living in the south during the Gone with the Wind era, when belles wore full, swishy dresses and used southern hospitality. It seemed ladies were sweet and genteel, and courtesy was the order of the day. Now that I’ve grown up (and studied the Civil War and got accustomed to air conditioning), I don’t think of living then so longingly, but I do still wish that ultra-courtesy was our culture’s style of interaction.

Well, it’s not. Rudeness is quite common. But we can have create a culture in our own home where “You Go First” is the motto.

I once invited my friend and her large family over for a visit. I had baked a cake to serve as a refreshment. With my 7 kids, and my friend’s 12, there were plenty of eager dessert-eaters clamoring around as I cut that cake! My friend’s teenage boy had his youngest sibling in his arms. I noticed as the cake was served, he held back, making sure everyone was served first including his tiny sister. That isn’t normal behavior for teenage boys! I was impressed and starting observing more carefully. Although no one voiced it, “You Go First” was that family’s method of interacting, and I determined to make it mine as well.

So, I taught my preschoolers to say, “You go first” instead of “me first”. “You go first” is a very unnatural phrase for a little one. It wasn’t easy for them to restrain their desires and offer the treat or chair or privilege to their siblings, parents, or friends first, but with practice it started to work magic in my family. The older children caught on. Instead of everyone racing and scrambling to take care of #1, they were looking out for each other. What a victory!

It takes constant vigilance and reminders, but “You Go First” brings a pleasant sense of civility that makes home life glide along so much more smoothly.


May I recommend:

Chivalry, It’s Up to Us!

abigail_blocks Training a Child in the Way He Should Go

Uncommon Courtesy

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Sweet Civility

The world is getting rude.

Sometimes my ears yearn for those soft and fluid words that show our humanity: our belief in Christ and the worth of a soul. The virtues of unselfishness and patience. Ah, words of kindness . . .

Print them out and post them on your bathroom mirror. Practice saying them while you are in the shower, until they sound convincingly polite and loving. Use them all day long, as much as you can. Embrace them and make them part of your vocabulary. Expect your children to do the same. Teach your littlest toddler to say, “You go first” instead of “me first”.

You go first.

How can I help?

What would make you most comfortable?

It’s my fault.

It’s okay—I have time.

Let me help you.

Thank you.

No worries!

I’m so sorry.

Don’t stress, it’s fine.

Excuse me.

It’s okay.

You go first.

These tender words will reap you a harvest of gentle feelings, appreciation, and love towards each other.

Ah, sweet civility!



May I recommend:

Chivalry, It’s Up to Us!

Paper Clip Social Skills

Uncommon Courtesy

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