I am rather old fashioned when it comes to gender roles. I supposed that this is evidenced by the fact that I stay home with our children while Brandon works to provide for our family. More than that, I like Brandon to open doors for me, help me in or out of a car/bus/train/whatever I’m getting in or out of, pay for my meal (even though it all comes out of the same pot) and generally treat me as a lady. This is not to say that I don’t have an opinion or that I don’t like to share it frequently. I definitely have a mind of my own. But overall I like to be treated like a delicate flower.
Now that our son is old enough to understand some of these things, we are training him to be a gentleman. Because I spend the majority of my waking time with him, this task falls largely to me. He now knows to open doors and hold them for ladies (including his sister). He is never to hit a girl and he is not to wrestle with girls. We are currently working on not pushing or shoving to get ahead of someone, especially not a girl! (Did I mention he is only 4 1/2?)
All of my instruction, reminding and harping can only do so much. Sometimes the lesson has to be experienced.
A couple of weeks ago we were on Disney’s Epcot ferry returning to our car after a very long and exhausting day at the park. Being first on the boat, Brandon, the kids and I all sat on a bench. It was plenty large, so no great sacrifice there. But as the boat continued to fill, all of the seats became occupied. Brandon, being the gentleman that he is, stood and offered his seat to an older woman who was stuck standing. She gratefully accepted the seat and we proceeded across the lagoon.
After a moment, my son leaned over and asked me why daddy got up for the lady. I was so pleased and proud to be able to explain to him that daddy is a gentleman and a gentleman always offers his seat to a lady. He accepted this answer and we rode on in silence. But I can’t help but be thankful that our son received such a wonderful lesson from his dad. It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t scripted, it was just Brandon being who he is: a gentleman.
What are you training your children to become?
What lessons do they learn just by watching you?