Chivalry isn’t dead, it just takes time to mature

Some say chivalry is dead, but we’re doing our best to keep it alive with the Herron boys. My two sons are about half-way there.

They love to open doors for me. The problem is, they fight about who gets to do it so I often have to walk around a fist fight to get through the door.

My older son carries my purse to the car. I recently learned that he’s also been embezzling money from my wallet, but whenever I need cash, I know where to go, so it’s kind of handy.

Both boys are incredibly affectionate, and I hope they never outgrow it. Although, I do hope they grow to love breath mints and hand-washing. I can’t control my gag reflex so I’m sure it’s giving them a complex. I’ve also caught almost every illness rumored to be circulating in their schools, even when they don’t get it.

After surviving the labor-intensive infant and toddler stages, I’m trying to turn the tables a little by enlisting them to get things for me. They’re willing participants, but we are at 100 percent failure rate for them actually finding what I sent them to fetch. They might be training me.

Compliments are frequent but unintentionally back-handed sometimes. My older son once told me I smelled nice, then asked, “Were you cleaning the bathroom?” On our way to church a few weeks ago, he said, “You look pretty, but its probably because you’re wearing makeup.” I’m trying to teach him that compliments need not be followed by questions or opinions. I want to tell him I appreciate his honesty, but that would be a lie.

I was so proud when my 6-year-old, without being prompted, carried our neighbor’s book bag and walked her home, opening doors along the way. When I commended him, he admitted to being in love with her. I tried to explain that he should help every girl, young and old, regardless if he is in love. (Even if she smells like Lysol and isn’t wearing makeup).

He said he was in love with “like 10 girls.” I told him he has to chose one girl to love someday. He tried to compromise by explaining he has a favorite, but the other girls also make him happy. He has been prohibited from keeping concubines on the playground at school.

So, we still have work to do. The Herron boys aren’t quite knights in shining armor but if all goes as planned, they’ll champion the next generation of gentlemen who know how to treat a lady.

As a mom, I can talk, yell, beg, plead, bribe and punish to teach them how to behave around a woman but nothing is more effective than watching their dad lead by example. My husband is a great model, just as his dad was for him and his grandfather was for his dad.

Luckily, my husband doesn’t travel much, and I’m blessed beyond measure that he can spend so much time with them.

When I interviewed mom Crystal West a couple of weeks ago, she was preparing to pick up her Marine husband from his second tour of duty, this time in Afghanistan. The mom had been on her own for seven months raising her three children, including their 5-year-old son, who is in-between the ages of my two boys.

This family was not only without dad, they weren’t sure he would ever return.

So to all the fathers who are setting the example of courage and chivalry to the next generation of men in both small and mighty ways, thank you.

And, to Major Jason Monroe West, welcome home, sir.

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