Articles chivalry_inconvenient

Published on September 28th, 2006 | by Alex and Brett Harris

When Chivalry Is Inconvenient




This is part 4 of 4 in the series Modern Day Chivalry

My six-year-old brother James is a gift-giver. One of his favorite ways of showing love for his family is to break out his “treasure chest” and present each family member an assorted handful of sea shells, rocks, and airsoft pellets.

Each of these episodes is followed by a brief period in which everyone except James is trying to figure out where to store this new handful of treasure. Small sticky rocks may not be convenient to deal with, but we love the fact that James is trying his best to serve us.

But I Don’t Like Ice Water

Unfortunately, many ladies have had similar experiences at the hands of not-so-young, not-so-cute gentlemen. In other words, men with good intentions but a lack of discernment can inconvenience women even while trying to serve them.

One of our female readers compares this to receiving a sweater that is many sizes too big. You appreciate the motivation, but now you’ve got to deal with a useless pile of fabric.

Another reader asked this question, “Guys offer to get me ice water, but I don’t like ice water! I don’t want to discourage the gentlemen, but do I have to accept the offer even though it’s inconvenient?”

When You’re Handed Sticky Rocks

Ultimately, the answer to that question is ‘no’. Ladies should not feel obligated to accept inconvenient offers from gentlemen. However, they should feel obligated to build their brothers up as men even as they refuse an act of service. To help them do this I have two encouragements for the ladies:

First, be gracious with “young” gentlemen. The reason our family joyfully accepts handfuls of rocks from James is because we know that at his age it is more important that he cares to serve us, than that he actually serves us.

In the same way, be gracious with those of us who are just learning to be gentlemen. We may be in a stage of development where we are very sensitive to your response. Consider being inconvenienced for a time so that we won’t be discouraged from developing servant’s hearts.

Second, help the men in your life become more discerning. It’s not likely that James will still be giving out handfuls of sticky rocks when he’s twenty-five. Whether it happens by itself or through our input we expect him to become more thoughtful in the near future. So, though we accept it joyfully now, our ultimate goal is for his competence to match his good intentions.

You should have the same goal for the gentlemen in your life. Though you may put up with it for a season (see above), you don’t want us to remain clueless of how to actually serve you.

How To Say “No”

So, how can you help men become more discerning without discouraging us from being gentlemen? Well, I believe that there are three practical ways to direct but not demoralize the men in your life:

1.) Still communicate appreciation. Even a misguided offer deserves gratitude if the heart is in the right place. If you need to turn down an offer make sure you add, “But thank you so much for asking!”

2.) Explain why you are saying “No.” If all you say is, “No thanks, I’m fine,” men will most likely assume that you don’t welcome chivalry. The truth probably is that you just don’t welcome that specific offer — so tell us that!

If you don’t like ice water, feel free to say something like, “Thank you so much for asking, but I actually don’t like ice water.” This kind of response not only provides us with useful information for serving you in the future, but it also prevents us from feeling that the problem is our desire to help.

3.) If possible, provide an alternative. One of the best ways to help men become more discerning is to tell us what would actually serve you.

There are ladies in our church who are so good at doing this. I’ll ask them if I can carry something for them and they’ll respond by saying, “Thanks so much for asking! You know what, I’ve got this just fine, but there’s some heavy stuff still in the car that I’d love your help with.”

The result of this exchange is that I go trotting off to the car feeling manly and strong and she is actually being helped. Over time I have learned to ask if there’s anything else in the car I can carry before I offer to take something out of a lady’s hands. These wise ladies have successfully taught me to be more discerning.

It All Depends On Our Hearts

Of course, all of the “encouragements” and “practical steps” in the world can’t make women care about building their brothers up as men. And if a man’s only desire is to flirt and show off, all of the instruction in the world can’t make him care about actually serving women.

From the beginning we’ve seen that chivalry is a matter of the heart — not a list of rules or steps. This means that what we really need is a heart-changer; a savior. And that is what we have in Jesus Christ.

Read: Part One / Part Two / Part Three / Part Four / Part Five







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About the Author

are the co-founders of TheRebelution.com and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.



  • Thank you very much for this series, the whole thing has been a blessing to me.
    I really love the “sticky rocks” illustration. 😀 I’m going to have my brothers read this series.

  • This is a “sticky” issue, so thank you for providing a few good ideas to deal correctly with similar situations.

  • That’s awesome Brett. I really appreciate this series. Your slight humor about things makes them easier to recieve.

    Well done, my friend, well done.

  • Thank you! I have struggled with finding out how to say no the right way before, and this post was very helpful!

  • Thank you!! That is so good to know–very helpful. You’ve done a marvellous job once again, Brett.
    (Oh, and the “sticky rocks” analogy was hilarious! My younger brother–age 4–likes catching toads for gifts…that’s exciting. :-) )

  • Thank you for another helpful post! The whole series has been most enjoyable and helpful. Thank you.

  • Hope

    This is very insightful. I think too often I come across as someone who doesn’t welcome chivalry, simply because I wasn’t quite sure how to handle saying “no” in a “sticky rocks” situation!

  • Wow! Wow! Wow! Brett, thank you so much for posting this! It truly inspired me to check my response to every “young” man who tries to help and assist me in anything. I really liked the ending and how you brought back to the heart. A heart change is crucial! Thank you again for writing this in such a gracious way. Blessings!

  • Les Jumelles

    We appreciate the fact that one of your many purposes in this blog is to encourage young men to lead, and young ladies to follow. It is so important for young men to be ready, willing, and able to take the lead and be respected in spiritual matters, as well as in social situations. From a girl’s perspective, in a social context or in any discussion context, we are probably waiting for you young men to initiate a conversation. Please do not presume we do not want to speak with you just because we do not speak to you first. Young men, we want to be able to respect you, and we want you to lead us as strong Christian brothers leading their sisters. And as this latest post has instructed, we ought to encourage you as you strive to become godly and courteous gentlemen.

  • Thanks so much for providing different options for us ladies. I love how you not only help the other guys with how to be chivalrous, but giving us ladies a chance to encourage them in doing it.

    Great post. I loved it.

  • This is a great post! The world needs more people with the same mindset. Thanks for the good ideas.

  • shopgirl07

    Thank you so much. I was just having this exact problem today, not knowing how to say ‘no’ gently to a really nice guy that I just don’t care about. Thanks for posting this!

  • Ashley Rogers

    May God bless you as you raise the standard for Christlike living, as you encourage the Saints, and speak our Lord’s truth.
    Brett, thank you for the wise reminders. The day before you started this series, I had asked God for wisdom in all these areas, and praise His name, He used you to to answer that prayer. Thank you for being willing to be an instrument of God.

  • I have to join with all the other young ladies here in expressing my appreciation for this wonderful series! This, and the Chivalry discussion threads on the Forum have been SUCH A BLESSING to me. Thank, Alex and Brett, from the bottom of my heart for your beautiful Christlike teaching on such a near-forgotten but so much needed virtue!

    Vive la Rebelution!
    Vive TRUE gentlemen and TRUE ladies!

    Your Sister in Christ,
    Claire

  • Oops… please pardon the typos in my comment! I had to re-type it because it was lost the first time. The good Lord has such ways of humbling us, doesn’t He? 😉

    Joyfully,
    Claire

  • Thank you for this EXCELLENT series! I am passing the link on to my younger friends!

    Blessings,
    Mrs. Brodock

  • Christy Wishart

    Wonderful, well expressed thoughts!
    I have recently decovered this site, as well as the forum, and have been so encouraged by your refreshing perspective!
    Being the only girl in my family it has been imparative that I learn to allow my brothers to cultivate chivalry! Sometimes it’s inconvenient, but oh-so-worth the results!
    I’ve had to learn that it’s not a matter of what I can and cannot handle, or even whether or not I could accomplish a task more quickly.
    My friends are often surprised by the things I call my brothers to help. “You could have done that yourself, couldn’t you?”
    “Certainly I could,” I reply “but I want my boys to to have the blessing of fulfilling their God-given roles!”

  • Emily Haas

    I have a really hard time accepting help from guys. I always have. My automatic response to any offer is no without any thought about what they offered. I can never put my finger on why this is. I guess I have never really seen why I should accept help that I really don’t need. I never thought that this was wrong until recently and I am still not convinced. I guess what I really want to know is if it really is important for guys to be chivalrous to ladies? What does it really matter?

  • Sarah

    Here is yet another expression of gratitude for this series on chivalry!
    It has been especially encouraging to me because of the fact that it was
    written by a young man! Thank you for taking the initiative, Brett. Just
    knowing that there are young men out there who are striving to become
    true gentlemen inspires me to strive even harder to be a true lady!

  • Bwhahaha, I actually like this series, this stuff is good.

    You should write about how guys shouldn’t be offended when we say no to sweets or dessert. We’ll have it when we want to, and if it’s not at that moment, don’t give us a hard time about it. Some of us actually (try to) watch our weight and it’s something guys should appreciate! =P

  • Katrina

    What do you do if guys always ignore you? I’d be glad to accept anything they offered me if they actually offered me something.

  • Katrina: You bring up an interesting question. What should you do if guys completely ignore you? Well, the answer is that there isn’t really anything you can do (besides having them read this series). 😉

    The truth is that girls can’t make guys be gentlemen, just like guys can’t make girls be ladies. It takes both men and women working together for chivalry to work. This series has supplied helpful information to both guys and girls for how they can serve each other in this area, but it doesn’t allow a girl or guy to singlehandedly change everyone around them. We still need each other, and most importantly, we need God.

  • Isaac MacMillen

    Does James read this? O:-)

    This is very good. I like how you show how ladies can encourage gentlemen to be chivalrous while saying “no.”

    Emily Haas: That’s a very good question. While Scripture doesn’t specifically command chivalry, it is spread all throughout. :) The whole principle of the “stronger” serving the “weaker,” especially as exemplified in Christ laying down His life for us, is one thing that sets Christianity apart from the world (where the weak serve the strong). Since men will eventually model Christ’s service to the Church with their wives, any practice we get beforehand makes it easier. :)

  • Katrina

    Thanks Brett. It’s at least good to know there are good guys out there like you and your brother who do care. Maybe some day I’ll run in to someone like you guys.

  • Very Nice! I am very impressed with your blog. You have the heart to tell what you think is moraly correct and the brain to word it in a way that will make people understand. Your veiws are very close to mine. Infact I have, just this morning, started a blog about my veiws. http://heisheroic.blogspot.com . And, because you are homeschooler, such as myself, I will give you the link to homeschooler blogs. I have one for my everyday life and I thought, once I saw this, that you guys might want one too! http://homeschoolblogger.com/drumstx14/ This is mine, from there you can get your own.
    Lanna
    P.S. I will point my friends to your site here. I think they will find it most inspiring. Thumbs UP!

  • a not so fair maiden

    I guess I’m a Bad Homeschooler, but I really, really hate chivalry. In my experience, when guys practice chivalry, it’s all about them being gentlemen and them looking good. It doesn’t really matter to them whether their gentlemanliness is helpful, let alone whether it’s needed. I sort of end up feeling like a project. Now, I don’t think everything has to be about me, but if I’m going to be a teaching aid to guys, I’d rather teach them how to care about people and be courteous and nice. I guess one of the main reasons I dislike chivalry is that it involves people doing things just because they’re supposed to, and it offers an easy set of rules to follow as a replacement for actually being kind and thoughtful.
    For example, I took a class last year that met a couple times a month. After class, we had to put things away, and I would always carry a table or several to the storage room. Once in a while, someone would grab the other end (always another girl). On the last day, class ended early, and a couple of the boys decided to take away the tables I was folding. I don’t think they actually cared if I strained my back–-for the whole school year, I’d been lugging the bigger tables away and nobody minded, so I don’t see why it would be a problem if I rolled the small round tables to the end of the room. I got the impression that they were making a show of chivalry because it was convenient––to them. (I was left standing there with nothing to do. I hadn’t really made a habit of talking to people after class; I put away tables instead. It was kind of my way of entertaining myself.)

    Or, for another example, one of my debate opponents offered to carry my filebox for me on the way to our round. I declined, and when he tried to insist, I told him it was broken and needed to be carried with two hands as the contents would fly everywhere if one tried to hold it by the handle. That was true, but it was also very much an afterthought. Aside from the insult to my expert filebox-carrying skills, I had a massive grudge against him for his (in my opinion) less than exemplary conduct the last time I’d hit him (in a debate round, though at the time I would have vastly preferred a different context) and I didn’t want to be indebted to him in any way.
    For all his chivalry outside the round, during it he refused to let me answer his questions, made very sketchy arguments playing on the judge’s emotions, and claimed I read no evidence in my speech (and then quoted it). It’s not I expect people to debate “nice” with me because I’m a girl; I just think honesty and courtesy are always good and I respect them more than token gestures.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wish people cared more about people than about how they’re “supposed” to act. Chivalry often does more harm than good, and I, for one, have sometimes been offended by people who are probably well-meaning but who don’t think to care.

  • Not So Fair Maiden: I appreciate you sharing your thoughts, except that it doesn’t seem that you’ve taken the time to read this series, or even the post you’ve commented on, very carefully. The issue of men’s motives has been repeatedly addressed along with what I see as appropriate responses to those wrong motives.

    I completely share your disapproval with men who are “serving” entirely out of self-centered motives. However, the problem is men and women who lack an accurate understanding of what chivalry is and why they’re supposed to do it. I would encourage you to take the time to read this entire series, just to make sure you’re not contributing the problems you see.

  • Thanks so much for this series! It’s been a blessing reading all the articles!

  • a not so fair maiden

    You’re right. I read through the series rather quickly and as a result ended up saying a bunch of stuff you agree with anyway (I’ve now reread the articles at your suggestion). I also kind of got carried away with all my anti-chivalry sentiments and my point didn’t really get across. I’m sorry.

    My problem with chivalry is this: even real chivalry is about guys doing things for me just because I’m a girl. To quote Section 4, In fact, if our motivation for serving a woman is anything other than, “This is a woman that I have been called to serve and protect,” we have counterfeit chivalry.
    Most gentlemen that I encounter just see me as an opportunity to practice their chivalry, or maybe even to follow their call. so to speak. I think they kind of forget that I’m a person too. They almost never talk to me except to offer to do things. It’s hard to accept help from someone who doesn’t take any interest in me as a person and won’t carry on a conversation with me––I’d feel like I was using a person like that as a pack animal (except that a pack animal might actually care about me, because I’d feed it). The result is that I end up less comfortable, even if the gentleman is being genuinely chivalrous and putting my comfort first. Does that make any sense?
    I wouldn’t mind as much if the gentleman actually admitted it was about him and said straight out “Would you mind if I helped you with that?”, because I value honesty and I can forgive most things if they’re actually stated instead of hinted at. (It would also help if he looked me in the eye, addressed me by name, and said at least three sentences about something else.)

    The thing is, service and protection are okay sometimes but they’re not what girls really need. Most of us can get by perfectly well on our own, although a lot of girls I know love getting unnecessary help from gentlemen. I love it when guys notice I’m a person and act like they’re happy to see me and ask me how I am––even if they let me open the door for them and talk to me in slang I barely understand. But most gentlemen don’t actually talk to me and don’t know I have no real brothers and need people to be brothers to me more than I need them to hold the door. And it would probably be too much of a sacrifice for them even if they knew.
    That’s what I mean about niceness versus chivalry.

    Of course, there are occasional Nice Gentlemen. I think I’ve met approximately two. They could get away with telling other boys to change their conversation because there’s a lady nearby and still be liked by everyone, even me, and even when I was the one girl in the room. What I really appreciated about them was their friendliness, much more than their manners.

    Now, it is true that a lot of the problem is on my part. I need to stop seeing well-meaning guys as nuisances just as much as they need to stop seeing me as a task. I also need to be more honest, as in telling the truth rather than just not lying.
    Would it help for me to tell aspiring gentlemen exactly what I think of chivalry and kindness? Should I accept insulting chivalry (and/or false chivalry) and admit I’m only doing it as a favor and then give my opinion? Or should I just accept it with no lecture and then use the time I have to spend with them while they’re “helping” me to show them how to be nice––provided I ever actually learn? Accepting help from people who don’t care who I am is really humiliating, but then…I definitely need lessons in humility.

  • a not so fair maiden

    Sorry about all the bold in the last comment, I have no idea how it happened––the only part I put in bold was the quote.

  • Grace

    That was a really great series :) I enjoyed reading it, and it challenged me in a lot of ways, as well as being encouraging.

  • Hi there Rebelution! Just read your series of articles on chivalry, noticed the low ratio of male respondents and thought I’d add my tuppence worth…

    1) Girls, Brett is spot-on when he says you squash our interest in helping you when you constantly turn it down!

    2) Especially in ‘courtship’ circles, girls, some of you are chronically bad at reading marriage proposals into the slightest acts of kindness. Brett is on-the-money when he says “Be aware of your own tendency to read into the actions of your brothers. Unless the flirtation is obvious … assume … this man is simply treating you as a sister in Christ, and nothing more.” He goes on to say “Many potential gentlemen are discouraged by women who welcome or refuse their service as if it were an offer of marriage.” He’s talking about me and many young men like me – I vouch that we hold back when we think you’re assuming ‘interest’ on our part.

    On the whole, EXCELLENT articles Brett but now I want to ask you some questions :

    Scripture explicitly states that we should rise in the presence of elderly _men_. In contrast, some chivalry advocates say we should honour _women_ by rising when they enter the room. How did we get so far off-track Scripturally that we ignore explicit Scriptural commands for the honouring of certain categories of _men_, and yet use exactly the same form of honouring for women?

    It’s a general question, not an accusation that you Brett are one of the ones who make this foolish mistake (in fact I am confident you’re one of the ones who _don’t_), but it leads to a larger question…

    At what point do we cross the line from honouring womanhood to worshipping it?

    Earlier in the article you state that “women deserve our service regardless of their age or appearance”. I completely agree with “regardless of their age or appearance”. I feel much more comfortable helping a “plain Jane” than “some pretty thing”, and frequently go out of my way to make a less attractive woman feel comfortable and appreciated for who she is, whilst I generally have little time or regard for “beauties” – I figure they get enough attention as it is from others – they don’t need any more from me.

    But – and excuse me here if you feel it’s nit-picking – I strongly disagree that women “deserve” our service. As soon as something is _deserved_, the provision of it ceases to be a gift.

    I completely agree with your approach to living a life looking out for how to serve others rather than how to please ourselves. You talk about putting others’ comfort ahead of our own comfort. I COMPLETELY AGREE. Fantastic stuff.

    But – and here I’m interested in your comment as to whether you agree or why you disagree – as a Christian, I hold my personal comfort in extremely low regard. Yes, I do put others’ comfort ahead of my own, but my own comfort is so far down the list of my priorities, that others’ comfort is still quite some way down the list and still ahead of my own!

    I recently came across some folk who take chivalry, well, I think way too far, and that’s why I’m kind of allergic to crossing the line between what I see as clearly Scriptural, and jumping deep into _cultural_ territory on this issue.

    Vastly more important than my own comfort is my spiritual growth. Vastly more important than your comfort is your spiritual growth. Vastly more important than a young woman’s comfort is her own spiritual growth. Vastly more important than _anyone’s_ comfort is _anyone_ _else’s_ spiritual growth. If e.g. I’m in a conversation with a non-Christian and we’re touching on deep issues of the soul and his need for Christ, this is vastly more important than making a young woman nearby slightly more comfortable by pulling out a chair for her.

    If I have a heart of selfless service, I will realise that it is more important to serve this man by communicating the Gospel than to serve this woman by pulling out her chair.

    (This does not make it _wrong_ to serve the woman this way, but if in the situation it’s obviously likely to disrupt the much more important process, I do foolishly to serve the woman’s comfort ahead of the man’s need.)

    Chivalry becomes idolatry when in putting others’ comfort ahead of my own, I put their comfort ahead of something of lasting value.

    It’s important that we honour those women who value femininity. Sacrificing such a trifling thing as comfort in order to do so is a worthy exchange. Once again, great articles and thanks for writing on this topic! :)

    Jonathan Field, Melbourne, Australia

  • shay

    i love it when men act like gentlman- it makes me feel like such a lady. i try not to ‘read into it’ as anything other then them serving me (which i think is something women tend to do) but try and be humble enough to accept what they are doing. i agree that it’s us women who will help men be more open to step up and become chivalerous. with no strings attached of course

  • I’ve appreciated this thread up until now. But now, it seems to have left the realm of the reasonable and gone into the absurd.

    First of all, instead of asking someone if they would like ice water, ask them if they would like something to drink. “Can I get you something to drink?” That way, they don’t have to tell you what they DON’T want.

    Second, so what if they do bring you something you don’t like. Ever hear of not looking a gift horse in the mouth, or that’s it’s the thought, not the gift, that counts? Ever hear of just being gracious?

    Third, what to do with a sweater that’s too big? Ever hear of Salvation Army or Goodwill? Surely you can think of someone to share that sweater with.

    Chivalry, like all other good things in life, is based on practical, courteous living. When it is taken out of the context of practical, courteous living, it becomes absurd. The point of treating women with courtesy – chivalry, if you will – is to bless them. Just ask yourself, “What can I do to bless this person?” If you don’t know, ask them. Or better yet, look around: what makes sense? It’s a hot, dry day. “Can I get you a cup of coffee?” On a hot, dry day?! Use your head! On a hot, dry day, if they want anything, it will be something refreshing – unless they’re addicted to coffee and just looking for their next fix. Courtesy – chivalry – is 95% just common sense and thoughtfulness.

    Waitsel

  • Katelyn

    In reply to a not so fair maiden:
    Let me start off by saying that I understand where you’re coming from. I know exactly how you feel about guys not being able to say anything except “can I help you with that?” and then completely ignore you.
    If a guy is just using you “as an opportunity to practice their chivalry,” as you said, rather than actually caring about you, it’s not true chivalry. I think that the point Brett is trying to get across is not just that guys open doors for girls and such, but that they have a change of heart. Any guy can open a door for a girl, but not every guy truly desires to serve her. A man who truly desire to serve the ladies in his life, isn’t just going to shove the doors open for them, grab the packages from their arms, and bring them meaningless “glasses of ice water.” No, he will genuinely care about that ladies’ wellbeing. If no one is talking to her, he will start a conversation. Chivalry is not just about doing something, it’s a bout serving. Many times it requires stepping out of one’s comfort zone. True chivalry is an attitude of the heart.
    Nonetheless, you have to remember, that most guys who are attempting chivalry, are somewhat insecure. You can do your best to help them out by being responsive and genuinely appreciative of their efforts. They’re attempting to be gentlemen, so at least they’re trying! It’s better than nothing, right? Rather than trying to change them, I would suggest allowing the Lord to change you. Ask Him to give you the grace to see chivalrous gentlemen as He sees them and to be fully appreciative.
    Also, if you want them to talk, you could give the conversation a little boost by asking an open-ended question.
    I hope you’re not completely frustrated with the chivalrous gentlemen in your life and that this helps!
    In Christ,
    Katelyn

  • Michelle

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog, especially this particular series. Even at 22 and married with a son and another baby on the way, I still have alot to learn about chivalry and how to accept it graciously! : )

  • Chelsea

    This series is really awesome! I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, especially the door-opening thing. I am so flattered when a boy or man opens the door for me. It seems like it hasn’t happened much lately. Chivalry is sorely lacking. I would gladly let a well-meaning guy open the door or carry something for me even if I don’t really need help. I would consider it a huge compliment.

  • Tan Ming Ju

    Thanks for the tips for us ladies :)

  • Maiden of His Grace

    I have thoroughly enjoyed this series.
    I am the oldest of eight, six of which are boys, and it has been a good challenge to me to remember to encourage my brothers to be chivilrous men of God. It can be so easy to do things myself (especially since five of my brothers are under 9) but I have found that if I praise them even just for helping me carry a book or helping open a door they get excited about doing it again. I can’t believe I have the God given priviledge to help them learn to be godly gentlemen! Thank you for the effort you put into these articles.

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you so much for attacking this much needed issue. In today’s world is seems to me as a lady that chivalry is greatly lacking. I agree with your point of men and ladies working together to make true chivalry possible. I have read many books on womanhood and what it means to be a lady over the past few years, but I have really appreciated hearing this topic form a man’s perspective. Thank you for encouraging me to act as a lady and provide ways for the men around me to be gentlemen.
    I also want to encourage the men out there to keep trying to be gentlemen! Chivalry is so lacking in our world today, but working together as men and women, we can still work at serving eachother in our different God given roles as gentlemen and ladies.

  • Anna

    I have the privilege of knowing quite a few gentlemen and gentlemen-in-training. I like your definition of what makes someone a gentlemen, but I think you need to add something: the guy needs to actually care that the girl be served. If he’s just completing a task, the girl can tell. Several guys I know are perfectly polite, but have yet to treat me as though I’m really worth something as a person. I know exactly who they are, and I avoid them.
    Another thing, the asking doesn’t always go the same way.
    As an example: I am in a Christian cotillion. Unfortunately, I’m very sensitive to where a guy’s hand is on my back while dancing; if it’s too low, I get uncomfortable. When I ask a guy to move his hand up, his reaction tells me a lot about his attitude. Some of the guys move the hand up. Some argue constantly with me. I try to avoid the ones who argue–they’re not really looking out for me. It’s a simple thing I ask, but it has warned me that even some of the best-trained guys there have a long way to go.
    Problem three: legalism. I am in fear of accepting a ride from a certain father connected with my cotillion. He has been known to reprimand girls for opening the car door themselves. I have no objection to a guy opening the door, and I’m not questioning his right to make the rules pertaining to his own car, but the attitude of not letting the girl do something bothers me.

    I’m not sure if you’ll read that or even if it was quite coherent, but I tried.

  • Tony

    Jonathan Fields… I say diddo to your comment about a lack of guys replies. Maybe we are all scratching our heads to figure out what is going on!

    Any way, I want to thank you for posting these articles. I read it and shared it with some of my some of sisters and my mother. We had a very good time discussing it. Summarizing our conversation might take half a day, so instead, I’ll just share some thoughts from our discussion.

    I appreciate some of the girls mentioning the need to care about them as people, not just as girls. I am working on developing my care for the people around me in general, and girls in specific. The girls I know are very nice to me, but I have a hard time being nice back, mostly from a lack of practice.

    But I would also like to share how it was that I begin to come to this realization. I have been taught to be a gentleman for years. I know all about opening doors and the other external niceities that go with it. But as I studied the purpose behind chivlary, I began to realise that it was a heart of caring about others that really mattered. But I tremble to think what would have happened to me if I had not been taught to be a gentleman. Having never considered doing the things I was already doing, I never would have dreamed of going beyond to care about the people I am trying to serve.

    In closing, these things are becoming increasingly important in our day. Every thing that made our fore fathers great is being lost, including the art of having good manners. Good manners are necessary for more that show, they help us to be kind to other people because people need kindness. And while kindness should come from the heart, it is still kindness if it is just because it is the right thing to do. I appreciate the reminder to examine heart motives, but we should do the right thing regardless of how we feel.

  • Amanda :)

    For awhile now I’ve been stuck on supporting chivalry, gentlemen, ladies….and when I read this aritcle I was….well…humbled…encouraged….several times I’ve been in these situations where I don’t really need help, but at the same time, I want to let the guys help. When I let them down, I feel really bad and later I wish i could redo everything all over again. I mean, I am capable of lifting heavy, aquard (sp.?) things, and I do it quite often, so when someone asks if they can assist me, I feel, well a little “stuck”. Perhapes the world has brainwashed me into thinking that I need to impress the men by my strength…but as I Christian, I know that God wants me to be “weak”. He wants the men to do the heavy lifting….not just because the are men and they have muscles and etc…but because they are….men…the woman was created after man…she was not built to be strong….oh!!! how do i explain this!!!! This is such a confusing subject for me. I mean, i know what’s right, but, it’s just doing it. And even if i don’t need help, to share with the guy who offers why….but I’m afraid if I do that…i’ll seem rude. Please guys, how do think us women should act? and could tell us why? I need to understand a little bit more why being a “weak” woman is so important to you. I’m just, spiritually and mentally confused.
    Thank you so much Brett for posting this. I know this shall help and challenge me.
    In Christ our Lord,

    Amanda Ingersoll

  • C

    Chivalry is a serious concern of mine, and something that I attempt to make part of my life every day. I agree with a great deal of what you have said. There is one thing I wanted to open a discussion on, and I would suggest that if anyone has anything to say to me regarding the following, they email me. [email protected] I am open to discussion, I assure you.

    I do not worship Jesus or God. I am in no way “against” Christianity, in any way, and, in my own way, I believe that Jesus and God exist, though that is not the only thing I believe. I do not worship, however. My chivalry is out of a sense of personal honor. It is how I conduct myself because that is how I believe I ought to. I just hope to make the point that this motive for Chivalry cannot be discounted. I do not nessacarily believe you were, but I merely wished to make sure that it be understood that chivalry is not confined to Believers. It is a virtue that, whatever you believe, is worthy to follow.

    I am a Gentleman.

  • PhoebeJoy

    I agree with the main premise of these articles, which we seem to come back to again and again: that chivalry is above all an attitude of the heart. I have also had the feeling of being marginalized or ignored by boys; I have never had a conversation with some boys whom I have grown up with in church. Part of civilized manners in older times was for the gentlemen to ‘entertain’ the ladies, by engaging them in conversation as well as seeing to their comfort. This was also the responsibility of anyone who was hosting another person. I feel convicted, however, that I need to be friendly to boys and encourage them. Obviously, I know I shouldn’t ‘pursue’ as in always singling them out, but I should try to at least give them a ‘hello’ and a smile.

    to “not so fair Maiden” I would like to ask you to ask yourself whether you have bitterness in your heart. Do you feel like you are always on the outside? Does that make you only draw inwards? It is painful to reach out to others and not be received, but that may be what it takes to develop friendships, especially toward other girls. Maybe you are in a situation where you feel new, like in a new group or a new city. In that case, it is the courteous thing for the people already there to reach out to you. But after a period of time, if that doesn’t happen, try not to only draw inward into isolation.

    Thank you, “not so fair Maiden”, for listening to what I have to say. I don’t know anything about your heart or your situation, but I sensed that you might receive these ideas. Love to you in Christ!

  • Kerris

    You know, it’s funny, but girls these days really don’t appreciate gentelmanly behavior, as you’ve mentioned! I remember this guy who used to open the doors for the ladies in one of my classes. None of them offered so much as a thank you in return. I would always smile and thank him. Though he continued to open the door for the rest of the ladies, he always smiled when he did it for me. I could tell that it gave him more joy to do it for someone who accepted and appreciated it.

    Good job guys! Keep it up!

  • Shalita

    Another hello from New Zealand!
    I said the same thing on my last post which I put on the first article of this series, but I want to repeat it here again. I want to challenge more Kiwi guys to be chivalrous because so far I haven’t met a SINGLE chivalrous guy from NZ. It’s sad but true. I’ve had gentlemanly behaviour from Americans, Australians, South Africans but not from New Zealanders. Maybe it’s because in this country, the culture and lifestyle is more laid back, I don’t know. I’m from India where originally women were treated as lesser beings. It’s changing now, which is good. So coming from that culture, I really appreciate chivalry. It makes you a better person when you learn to give and put others before yourself. It builds character! :)

    Thanks for this great series!
    Shalita

  • Serafina Peckella

    I posted this earlier in an older section and didn’t get much feedback. Would it be insulting for a woman to open doors, carry stuff, etc. etc. for another woman and even men? What’s wrong with a little gender-bending if all you want to do is help others? I don’t know why but that feels like the more fitting role for me to take… but what I’m wondering is whether people may find it offensive for a woman to be chivalrous.

  • Lauren

    Hi!

    Thanks for this wonderful series! I have a question: Is it rude or unappreciative to open doors for other young men? I have done this many times before and I want to know if this lowers the young men’s self-esteem at all. I am just a naturally serving and courteous person and I automatically open doors for other people-regardless of gender or age.

    Lauren

  • Jerusha

    I read this series and it felt like a breath of fresh air – but man! It feels like I live in the wrong country and culture to EVER expect gentlemanly behavior from guys around me. I live in South Africa and part of my heritage is German. We females are here (according to their attitude) to beautify their home and life, but ‘don’t go expecting me to be all sappy around you’. Try to point out the difference between being sappy and just being a gentleman, and you’re reminded that gentlemen are English. They aren’t. Lame excuse, I know.
    Thankfully I have an absolute gentleman in my dad who is half English, half Norwegian. At least in him I can know what guys should be like.
    Oh, and the other thing that drives me crazy is that as soon as I tell the guys that they should think about opening a door for a lady once in a while – I instantly am labelled a feminist.
    I guess another problem is that the Christian young men are plagued with thinking that it’s impure to pay any attention whatsoever to a girl. And I suppose girls feed off this mentality and reciprocate it. Eventually it becomes a catch-22 situation.
    Ah well. I can only hope that if I’m ever blessed with sons I can raise them to be true gentlemen.
    Thank you for inspiring hope in me that there are still some Lancelots out there.

  • Elisabeth Gruber

    A letter… from me,

    To all of my chivalrous brothers in Christ (you all hopefully know who you are):

    I would like to thank you personally for being so kind and self-less to us women. You are greatly appreciated, including by me. I know it is hard at times, and I’m sure we do not make it any easier on you by refusing your kindness or seeming (or being) ungrateful. And yet, even in spite of that, you still persist in servitude and selflessness. Even if we all do not commend or thank you for your kindness, God sees all and is glad to see His children following in the ways of His Son.
    I must say though, sometimes it is hard for us too… chivalry teaches all a lesson in humility, myself included; when I struggle with a heavy box or something, and one of you kind gentlemen offer your help, my first thought is that you must think I’m incompetent or something (even when I truly need help)– but I apologize for that, because I know now that you are not implying that, and because you are sincerely trying to help; I am very thankful for that.
    I am also pleased that you are striving to have a servant’s heart. (Which Jesus had too and! Also, in Mark 9:35, it says, “If anyone wants to be first,he must be the very last, and the servant of all” [Jesus said this while he washed the disciples’ feet] )
    I will do my best to help you in your endeavor,

  • Elisabeth Gruber

    Addition to that last post— haha, i clicked the Submit button on accident *oops*

    As i was saying… I will do my best to help you all in your endeavor(s), rather than be a hindrance… and I’m sure many other sisters in Christ feel the same way.

    Sisters, if any others of you read this and feel the same way, please say so on these blogs… I think the guys could always use more assurance that we are behind them and will support our Christian bros 110% on their quests for a better relationship with God and with their Christian sisters.

    Deo et pax vobiscum,
    (God and peace be with you)

    Elisabeth J. Gruber

  • Anne

    I really liked all these articles; they are very true. I know personally, in one area I especially appreciate a gentlemen is when I have to physically be in an awkward position..like climbing in and out of something higher up or lower down. I remember one time I was climbing up into the back of a bus and in order to get in I would have to awkwardly wheel around and climb in. One of the guys grabbed my hand and pulled me in….it was a blessing.

  • Anne

    “Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD and delight in His salvation. My whole being will exclaim, “Who is like You, O LORD ?
    Psalm 35:9/10”
    I just remembered a favorite quote that seems to go with this a little.

    “Manhood in every culture is shaped by a variety of forces. But in every culture, one of the dominant forces that determine the quality of its masculinity is the quality of its femininity.”
    -Eric Ludy

    I love this quote because it always helps me remember that by me being a lady, it helps make them men…or real men…and that I shouldn’t be in this for myself, but instead to build the character of the brothers around me.

  • Kirsten Gruber

    (I am the identical twin sister to Elisabeth J. Gruber, and I am writing to all my sisters in the Lord…)
    A letter for all the young ladies struggling to accept the help of our chivalrous brothers in Christ…
    Hello Sisters! I for one completely understand how you are feeling. No one wants to feel like they are vulnerable and need assistance. But God has called men to be the provider for their sisters in Christ. The fact that the young men want to help you is a sign of their growing maturity and their servant heart! We should encourage them in these practices! We should be helping them achieve their goals of selflessness, not discouraging them from doing it! There have been several instances I have seen where a young man would offer to help a young lady who was clearly struggling with her burden. She told him no, she didn’t want anyone’s help, because she was fine. That, in turn, left the young man humiliated in his attempts to be a real gentleman. Sisters, if we kindly refuse the help of our brothers in Christ, we need to make sure they understand how much we appreciate their offers to help us, and thank them profusely for wanting to help!

    (a note to all the young men who want to help):
    On behave of all the young women, I want to personally thank all of you youn men who have made an effort to help us. You cannot imagine how thankful I am that God has put in your hearts a desire to help us! And although we may not accept the assistance all te time, it means so much to us that you care about your sisters enough to want to help. Let me tell you this: It does not go unnoticed! Please do not think that nobody notices your selflessness! God takes notice, and so do your brothers and sisters in Christ.

    In His Service,

    ~ Kirsten A. Gruber

  • Chris

    Yes! Perfect! If I can’t help a woman with exactly what I asked about, than I would appreciate it if she would tell me what else I could do!

  • Lindsey

    Thanks for this whole series. It was really helpful to me. I never really thought that turning down help would discourage a guy to be a gentleman. I just didn’t want him to be bothered. Now I know that if he’s offering to help me, then I should accept because he’s the one that asked, and if he didn’t really want to help, then he wouldn’t. Thanks for your ensight and helpful suggestions!

  • Gracie Martin

    Last summer my youth pastor resigned to go lead another church. Before he left he encouraged me as a senior to lead the other students in their walk with God. I said sure. Then I realized that I was the only senior. I was also the only homeschooler. I was also completely alone. I still am the only senior in my church. I’m still the only homeschooler. I’m not alone. and your blog has helped me realize that. It has helped me minister and lead the younger girls in my youth group and this series has lit a fire in my heart to reach out to the guys in my group.

    Brett – THANK YOU! I cannot express in words how much you and Alex have encouraged me over the past year and I am so thankful to God for all that you have done, are doing, and are going to do. Thank you again and God bless.

  • Diana Fielding

    just wanted to share something reg. unnecesary chilvarous acts.

    for awhile back, i used to lug around this heavy laptop bag. and when my arms gave out, i simply slung the strap over my shoulder, hoping always that i wouldn’t topple over ’cause of the weight imbalance.

    but after awhile, my body accommodated to the new stress, thank god, and walking to class became easier.

    a Christian brother from my batch has seen me struggle with my daily load and offered his services profusedly.

    and because it would really inconvenience him (i should know), i declined.

    again and again and again.

    until i became too tired to say no.

    and let him have it.

    and on the first try, as i passed the strap to him (i can do this single handedly now), his shoulder gave under the weight.

    body bent over slightly, he tried to adjust to the new burden.

    now, i’m not exactly large, but my shoulders are broader than his. and the truth is, his built is just smaller!

    and yea…i had a lot of time to deal with the extra pounds.

    i’ve guessed that he mightn’t be able to handle it, but i didn’t know how to say ‘no’ the right way.

    i do appreciate his thoughtfulness, but really, that’s just ridiculous!

    thank god, class was over with no stairs-climbing in the schedule, and he made it to the cafeteria, alive.praise god.

    when situations like this arise, how do you convey the ‘no’ and still build him up? i don’t want to physically maim everyone who tries to be gentlemanly when they can’t handle it.

    help?

  • Erin Unger

    Thank you Brett for this eye opening article!
    You hit the nail on the head as you were pointing out that young men can display chivalry, with alterative motives. In my situation, I forgot a sweater for an evening activity, and a young man that I know offered me one. It was very flattering to get that attention, at first I said no, but accepted his sweater. But Later I realized that His intensions were to just flirt with me, and puff his egoo up. Thak you again for the articles, they were very great pieces of reading.

  • Diana Fielding:

    I can definitely imagine where you’re coming from, and how you feel. Although I have not had that sort of expirience, I HAVE observed instances such as that. It IS very difficult because you appreciate his wanting to help, but know it will be exceedingly difficult for him if he tries to take on the challenge. Not to mention the injuries that could be aquired from the burden… 😉 I’m just kidding about that last part. :) But I don’t think there IS any clear-cut right way to say something like what you are wanting to say…That you greatly appreciate his wanting to help, but it would be a bit too difficult for someone not accustomed to the weight of the bag to carry it around.

    I’m afraid I’m not much of a help; I’m sorry. Just do your best, though. I’m praying for you!

    In His Service,
    ~Kirsten A. Gruber

  • Sheri

    i suppose i’m rather unlucky, but i don’t know a whole lot of guys that practice chivalry. my brothers rarely do, but i don’t mind because, well, they’re my brothers. my problem is i hardly know how to respond when a guy offers to help. i absolutely loove chivalry and it annoys me when i mess it up. i’m also quite a romantic i suppose, but i also loove the thought of guys protecting me. for instance my brother(he’s the only chivalrous one) has had several serious talks with me about guarding my heart against guys who are just flirting with me for the thrill. he said he plans to tell me when a guy is sincere or not. i guess it’s clearer from a guys perspective. anyhow, it just put him way up there in my esteem, even if it never happens it’s the thought that counts, big bro. also in more physical realms. girls are generally rather weak. (sorry if you girls aren’t but i certainly am)hence it is guys’ responsibility to look after them. if a guy opens a door for me i will be impressed, but if he carries me inside after i sprained my ankle, i might melt.

  • Alex

    Hey guy (men) we really need to step it up and make this differnce happen. All these girls tell that they respect us for that and first of all that is what we are commanded to do is to respect our sister in Christ with love and care for them. Lets try alittle harder guys!
    thanks brett

  • Beccareba

    This is awesome, ya’ll! I’m so grateful to see godly young men standing up and being who God intended them to be. I’ve made a commitment to serve the young men I know as best I can, and accepting their chivalrous offers of service is a tangible way of building them up in the body of Christ. (Eph. 4:16)
    Again, it blows me away to see you guys, Christian homeschoolers like myself, talking about the real things that matter. The modesty survey was incredibly helpful. It helps to know the stumbling blocks so that I can avoid them the best I can. I actually didn’t know there was this many faithful young men in America until I saw the names on the petition! This was so encouraging. God bless you, brothers.
    Rebecca –‘-@

  • Kirsten B.

    Wow! Great way to end the series, Brett! I especially loved the advice on HOW to say no. I usually just decline saying “No thank you.” And never thought much of it. But this made me realize that I still need to encourage them to keep trying…even when that time it didn’t work out like they had wanted.
    This whole series has really helped me see my role in keeping godly chivalry alive! It was a great read!

  • Georgia

    Thank you so much for writing this series. I had never known that guys were chivalrus and would go out of their way to help me. I know now that how I respond to gentlemen affects other ladies. I highly appreciate your willingness to enlighten us.

  • Anna

    Thank you for taking the time to write, and publish these articles!
    They have been very helpful as reminders, and your articles showed me some pointes
    I had not thought of before. How to say no, for instance, that was a good point.
    In the past it has been difficult to respond to young men’s helpful offers, now, however, I am going to attempt to always remember, allow them to be the gentleman G-d designed them to be.

  • Kelsa Hope

    I just recently discovered this website. It’s AWESOME!!! I have been on every day, and have learned so mcuh and been incredibly encouraged. A huge thank you to everyone who contributes to it!!!
    I wanted to make a comment to girls reading this: in my own experience, girls often refuse chivalry because they are afraid of what their friends might think. One night, at a youth event, one of my friends was cold because she had forgotten to bring a jacket. Another guy took his off and offered it to her. Now this guy was in the less popular circle, and my friend refused. Later she commented on how frustrating it was that it happened in front of her friends. She didn’t want people getting the wrong impression- that he liked her or vice versa.
    So girls, I want to encourage you NOT to care what people think about chivalry. Look to God and see what He thinks.
    And you know what happened later? This guy felt hurt that she had refused his coat… and everyone knew it.
    Don’t discourage guys from chivalry!!!
    And guys, if you’ve ever been hurt when you’re trying to be chivalrous, don’t be discouraged.
    Thanks, guys!

  • Erin R.

    Thanks for addressing this! We really notice it when a guy will do something for us. For example something that my brother does for me is that wherever we go, he will open the door for me. SO SIMPLE, but I notice it and it does make me feel like a lady. Thanks for the advice on how to say no, that is SOOOO helpful.

    Guys,
    Please think about what you are doing before you do it. We love it when you try to help, but when I am helping with my youth group to load boxes on a truck, and there are still lots more to be loaded, now is not the time to ask if you can carry my box. But do continue to be chivilris, I know when a guy respects me like that, I definately respect him!

  • Hey! The whole thing is awesome! Thanks so much. I never really thought about it before but this is really relevant, especially when the guy is trying to “reform” from a two-face (he said it first (:= ) into a guy for God. I love this blog!

  • Thanks a lot Brett!
    I hope a lot of guys are reading this.

  • Missionary Kid

    Since I have three sisters, I tend to struggle a lot with this. Sometimes I get so tired of trying to be chivalrous. But these articles are helpful.
    God bless.

  • I like this…but whoever wrote about receiving a sweater should have sent it back because it’s inappropriate to accept clothing from guys [I think] as a girl. At least it was deemed inappropriate in the earlier days. Same as not receiving expensive jewelry. Just a random thought.

  • Rachel Seay

    Brett, Thank you again for these posts. I generally don’t add my comment to the 100 plus that usually show up on y’all’s site but this series was absolutely wonderful. This subject is one that’s near and dear to my heart and I’ve never seen a better presentation (for it’s length) than yours. So, I add my voice to the others on here and offer cheers to you, a true gentleman. Thank you.

  • A wouldbe knight

    My parents always taut my brother and myself to be gentlemen and when I believe I was about five we ran ahead of my mom and sisters to open the door and right when we had opened the door a lady walked up as started chewing us out for opening up the door and saying that she could do it herself and then walked indignantly into the store. Now after reading “When Lancelot Comes Riding” I notice that I have had a false chivalrous attitude toward some people and a real chivalrous attitude to others. Thanks for the encouragement guys, keep it up!

  • Molly

    One of my small group teachers used this series as an example to show how Christian guys should treat Christian girls. We’re studying relationships in my youth group right now, and it has been a very interesting lesson(s). Thankfully, I don’t have to look for chivalry that hard, though. My father and my grandfather and a lot of my guy-friends are all very chivalrous, and my younger brother is learning – however slowly :) – to become a gentleman as well. Looking around at women having to do things for themselves such as carry heavy loads and open doors makes me sad for them and makes me realize how good I’ve got it. Now I’ll be the first to admit, sometimes I do not accept chivalry as graciously as I should, and if you catch me in a bad mood I’ll refuse it altogether, but reading this series helped me realize how much I need to encourage the guys around me to be gentlemen, and how to help them achieve that. Thanks for writing this, Brett! God bless!

  • Torrey Benware

    Diana Fielding:
    I read your post with a lot of interest because that little guy was me. Well, he was like me. I was always this little, small guy and many times when I asked women to allow me to help them, they thought I couldn’t because I was too young or too little or not strong enough. Let me tell you, though, the ones that allowed me to help them helped me so much more! I mean, number one, lifting that heavy bag will build muscle but more importantly, it allows him to feel like he’s important and helpful. If he asks again, I’d encourage you to let him help even if he looks like he’ll topple over.
    Torrey

  • Irina H.F.

    thank you, thnk you, thank you for this series, Brett! It has been a wonderful encouragement to me! I plan on having my brother read this series (if he hasn’t already!)

  • Alex

    This is my first time coming to this website and this series has told me already that you guys are very godly men. I am having a hard time believing that two teenage boy are taking time out of their busy lives to show us the importants of being a gentle man in our every day life! I remember the first time a guy offered his chair to me I was total shocked! Nobody had every done so for me and it made me feel very important like I was cared for. This is a very important subject that I think all guys should learn! I never will forget that guy offering his chair for me! That is one of the many important chararistics I am looking for in a future husband! I plan on sharing the blog series with all the guys AND girls in my youth group! Thanks again, Alex

  • Alex and Brett,

    I don’t know how long this article has been here. I have only recently been introduced to this website and found out that it wasn’t only the one-page article that was forwarded to me. (I am not really a good computer person) But I really like everything I have read here and it has been encouraging to see that there are soooooooooo many people who agree with my world veiw and the things that God has laid on my heart. I have yet to befriend someone with the same veiws that I have.
    Lots of thanks!
    Banana

  • Lareun

    Wow!
    Thank you so much for this article. I have often wondered if i had to except guys help or if i could just ask them to do a different thing that would help me.
    I love these articles they have a great message that every girl needs to hear.
    But you guys are right change will only come with a changed heart.

  • Miss Heidi

    Hey! I just want to join all the other people on here who thank you for the great series! THANK-YOU SO MUCH! It helps to have some great ideas on how to accept chivalry and also how to say “no”. I also am encoraged to help my brother (1 year-old) when the time comes, to be a gentleman no matter how many sticky rocks!

    Thanks again,
    Heidi

  • Char

    Okay, so I haven’t read this entire series, only this article, so before I get down to what I want to say I’ll say this: Chivalry is lovely notion. Being kind and helpful to other people is just that – kind and helpful, plus its polite and always nice to see, if just for the fact that it shows that someone at least recognizes that there is more to the world than their close friends and themselves. And I’m quite sure that the rest of this series was as charming and well-written as this article.

    But. (Yeah, there’s a but). I take issue with chivalry for similar reasons to Not So Fair Maiden. If you’re gonna do it just because I’m a girl, forget about it. If you’re gonna do it because I look like I’m struggling or I have a lot to carry or I’m occupied but in need of a drink (or something), go right ahead and offer. What I don’t like about chivalry is the vaguely sexist overtones that can creep into it. Why? Well, because, NEWSFLASH, not all girls are dainty, helpless creatures. And I figure if we’re going for equality, us girls shouldn’t play off of the (often kindhearted) offers of men.

    To me, that is what chivalry and ‘being a lady’ implies. Those are terms more suited to the (fantastical) version of the Middle Ages, not the modern day. Be nice, be helpful, be kind, but for goodness sakes, treat people as people and help them because they look like they could use come help NOT because you need practice or because they are girls. I hold doors open/carry loads/etc for plenty of people, male and female, old and young, and many of them at least smile and look pleased/happy when I do. If you ‘need practice’ practice in real circumstances, don’t just make up some. I get the feeling that that may be covered in one of the other articles in this series, but still… it feels good to vent.

    So basically, pointless chivalry, heck, most chivalry along with the very term, is silly, in my mind. Be polite, nice, kind, and helpful and you’ll not have to worry about that. And girls, if you’re going to accept this so-called “chivalry”, why not do some in return to someone else (not necessarily a guy!)?

    *huffs* Anyway. Good article, nonetheless.

  • Pianogirl

    Hey Char,

    You bring up a good point, so I hope you don’t mind if I bring up one too.
    Guys don’t help us merely because we need it. (Most of us girls could carry a box of books without help from a guy.) I’ll admit that my first reaction when my dad offers to carry my suitcase is: “I CAN do it.” I don’t want to feel weak or dependant.
    But feeling weak or dependent just aren’t the issues. It’s not an issue of IF we can do it. It’s a matter of letting the guy give the gift of service. That’s all my dad’s doing when he offers to take my suitcase.
    It certainly does take some patience (like waiting in the car for your brother to open your door), but I would rather encourage the guys in my life to show kindness and respect than miss the whole point and try and prove my abilities.
    And yes, I DO sometimes open the door for other ladies when no guys are around. :)
    I think Brett makes these points really well in his: the Big Misunderstanding.

  • Kiley Hayes

    very helpful! i haven’t met many guys who choose to serve (give up their chair, open a door, carry something) but the ones i do know have my admiration and respect (and appreciation!:)…thanx for providing some VERY helpful ways to encourage my brothers in Christ!

    Kiley :)

  • Lynna

    I’ve really appreciated reading through this series on gentleman-like qualities. However, I have a situation that I don’t know how to handle that you might be able to help me with. I often do my school work with a good friend of mine. I’m not very good at remembering to bring a pencil, so I’m always asking him for an extra. Sometimes, however, he only has one, and I, not wanting to inconvenience him (yeah, the page on that one stung in a good way), will not mention my need and just work on something else. A lot of the time, he will notice, and offer me a pencil anyways. It’s gotten to the point where he sets the pencil on my homework and just won’t take it back, because he knows I need it, and he wants to be courteous to me. Saying “No thanks” doesn’t work, because he knows I really do need the pencil. As much as I appreciate the gentlemanly gesture, I always feel sort of awkward in that situation. I am now very careful to always have a pencil with me, but what should I do if something like that occurs again? How do I relieve my own awkwardness without making my friend feel discouraged?

  • Kara

    Lynna – There isn’t an easy answer for that, but I think that if you honestly forget a pencil and he wants to help you by offering his, you will honestly make him feel worse not using it. I’m not sure, but maybe it will help if you realize that he’s simply trying to meet a need and is probably happy to do so. Of course you feel awkward. None of us like having to accept help from others (I know I don’t!), but that’s part of humility.
    I hope that helps. I could write a page long comment, but nobody has time to read that!

    Brett, thanks for the entire series. I have definite opinions on chivalry, mostly the same as yours. Still, I’ve realized that I have a few things to work on (the “no thanks, I’m fine”). Again, thanks for the articles.

  • Tabitha

    I completely agree with this article!
    But what if none of the guys I know are like this?
    It is pretty hard to put into practice the role of young ladies and to encourage our brothers in Christ when they seem to be making no attempt to serve us!
    I am only 14, but daily I pray for my future husband, I know God has chosen the right person for me, but it is hard to trust Him when I have hardly witnessed any gentlemen in my own youth group!
    Fortunately I know at least seven gentlemen, unfortunately they are all my cousins.
    I somewhat use them as a guide when meeting other guys, but so far I have not met many like them.
    Where are all you gentlemen hiding?
    Please do not be afraid to be chivalrous!
    Godly young women are looking for you!
    We won’t settle for anything less than godly young men who seek Christ with all their hearts and are not embarrassed to serve others.
    Thank you for listening to my lament. = )

  • Maria

    Wonderful series! Thank you! (I mean it!)

  • Twyla

    I just read through this whole chivalry series and it is already blessing me! I’m looking forward to studying it in depth. At first, I was expecting that it wouldn’t have much immediate relevance to me as a girl. The tips you provided for the ladies were, however, a pleasant, humbling surprise. I hear so much moaning and gnashing of teeth among women due to the fact that “chivalry is dead,” but I don’t think most of us realize we are contributing to the problem. Personally, I have always appreciated chivalry and respected the chivalrous, but for women, this is a call to go further, live rebelliously, and be: a lady (Speaking of which, a series on ladyship would be amazing). Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Brett!

  • Ann W.

    I remember this past New Year’s my brother opened the car door for me, and I felt so special! Later I did open the door because I forgot to wait, but I won’t forget how it felt to have him do that for me. I think that in the same way that guys sometimes don’t notice that us girls standing etc., sadly, us girls are so used to no one offering that we simple don’t think to ask. One of my mother’s regrets from when she was dating my dad, was that the first time he opened the car door, she told him he didn’t need to. My dad didn’t open the car door for her again for years. I will try and watch for gentlemen who want to open doors for me! Ann

  • Aravir

    A wonderful blessing and a serious reminder. Thank you so much for this series, Brett. More than just the guys are going to grow from this. (as seen from the comments over these 5 posts) I already am; and I know several fellow girls who could too.

    Being that I found y’all a little late(er than most) I have a ton of back-posts and articles to read. I can’t get enough. Some may have to wait until tomorrow though. I think I’ve irritated my mom for being on here for so long this afternoon.

  • Not so fair maiden, I don’t know if you will ever read this, but THANK YOU SO MUCH for your comments! You have taught me a lot with your honesty — indeed, your comments were so good I had to go and include them in my book. :) I hope you don’t mind. But thank you, very much, for everything you said!

  • Tim Weiner

    ok, well, i read no comments but the last two before mine, so if i seem a wee bit ignorant, forgive me. :/

    does anybody have advice for this situation? :

    a young, six-year-old boy, who’s brother is not (by any means) a gentleman, and has no desire of becoming one, and whose father is around often enough to match the brother’s example? i’d love to see this lad grow to be a fine gentleman, but i’m afraid he doesn’t have enough influence in his life.

  • Molly W

    This whole series on chivalry is EXCELLENT, Brett!!
    I loved it!
    Since I started reading it a few days ago, I realized that, more often then not, on the rare occasion, when a guy (not at church or youth group,) opens the door for me, or offers to let me in front of him in line I admit, I would often turn him down. I won’t do that any more!
    This series was my favorite I read so far…I like the way you are able to communicate the point of the story to the girls, as well as the guys; discriptive, yet simple, and slightly humerous, so we can understand and apply it easily!
    Thank you very much for writing this “When Lancelot comes Riding” series, Brett!!!

  • Bailey Quishenberry

    I read the whole article and I think that it is something that we should all spend more time on. I have gone to the same Christian school since kindergarten and have grown up with basically the same group of people, and have seen the changes they have gone through. Now that I am in Junior High I see many of the kids who were once so nice and chivalrous now trying to be like there friends by being all around discourteous and disrespectful. It makes me sad to see the little kids who used to open the door for me (or anyone) now slam the door in the faces of the other students. I think that these kids think that because they are now teenagers they get to be lazy and self centered well it is not true! And also the kids who were never courteous are still not courteous. (that is a given) It is a blessing to me when I see a kid staying in the habit of being chivalrous because his parents trained him up in the way he should go firmly. Well thanks for letting me vent!

    Your Sister in Christ Bailey

  • Hannah H.

    Hi Rebelution!
    Thank you so much for the insightful articles! I have really been making an effort to think of things my younger brothers can do to help them grow in this area. I also printed off all five articles so that my mom could read them and my dad could share them with my two younger brothers! I have often wished that young men and women could be friends and build each other up without other people “reading into it” as something that it isn’t. Perhaps with enough young rebelutionaries working on it things will change in certain circles of friends. It is so neat to see teens and young adults applying these things. Thanks again!

    Under the Mercy,
    Hannah

  • Hannah H.

    Tim Weiner-

    Do you think that you would be able to be a sort of “foster brother” to this young boy? Perhaps if he could learn to look up to you, watching how you handle certain situations he would follow suit. Praise the Lord for your concern for this little fellow. I will be praying for both of you!

    Under the Mercy,
    Hannah

  • Nicole

    Thank you sooooo much! All these articles have been really helpful. I didn’t realize some of these things until i read this but it all makes sense

  • Megan E.

    I’m joining a lot of other people in saying THANK YOU!! This series is so incredibly thoughtful and helpful! (I wasn’t sure guys like these still existed) =)
    Although I am pretty capable of looking out for myself, it’s super-nice to have a chivalrous guy who honors me by being a gentlemen! I offer my sincere gratitude to all you guys! Know that I will be praying for you, as well as working on accepting your chivalry more graciously!

  • This was an excellent series! Thank you so much for posting this! In the last year I have become aware of the fact that I tend to view chivalry as a put-down, or else just be confused by it. For example: my Dad will offer to carry something for me and I assume it is because he thinks I’m weak (I have always been known as the least athletic of my siblings). So I get irritated and say no. My parents never showed any favoritism between my siblings and I, so this sort of “special treatment” confused me. I felt like my Dad was hinting around that I’m lazy or something! Also, I play in a band, and at shows sometimes guys from the church we’re playing at will offer to take the equipment that I’m carrying out to the van for me. I always feel awkward because I feel like it’s my job to carry the gear (and maybe it would have been better if they’d carried the heavy amps rather than my music bag!), and so I respond somewhat awkwardly. Hopefully I’ve come across as polite and grateful, but I know I haven’t dealt with these issues well. This blog series helped me understand what guys are thinking a bit better. So next time my Dad offers to carry something for me, I’ll smile and thank him rather than get offended. And when a guy at a show offers to help me with the light stuff I’m carrying, maybe I’ll kindly ask him to get the amp instead!

  • Lani

    This article will help me out in the future when offered help. I’ll have to recommend this site to some guys that I know that could really use some encouragement in this area.
    Thanks for the insight!! God Bless!!! ^-^

  • Juliethetwin

    thanks for the great article! it sometimes feels awkward when someone asks if they could do something for you becuase no one else every volunteers. this article is great to show me how to respond! thanks!

  • Diane

    I want to encourage would-be gentlemen. Several churches in our area fellowship with each other (camps, youth gatherings) and I had noticed that the young men from one of the churches are very gentlemanly. Recently I was talking to a couple of friends and found out that they had noticed too. We wished that the guys from our church would be more like them.

    But it’s not all their fault. I think that we (girls) don’t give enough encouragement when they do try to help. I am the oldest child in my family, and the second is a boy, so I’ve sort of felt that I had to keep up with him and do everything he could, since he was younger. That made me want to do everything myself and not accept help. I’ve recently realized that such behavior is a result of pride! If we refuse help because we think we can do it ourself, or (worse) we want to show people that we can do it ourself, we are being proud. This is something I continue to struggle with, and I know I’m not alone. But by God’s grace, we all can improve. Men in offering, and ladies in accepting, help.

    Finally, something I just remembered as I thought about this issue is something a friend of mine told me. He is a very good friend and I don’t feel uncomfortable talking about this kind of thing with him. He said that he actually gets a little upset when he sees a girl trying to do a heavy task on her own, and refuses his help. That gave me a new perspective on my attitude toward offers of help.

    Anyway, my thoughts, for what they’re worth.

  • Natalie

    After reading the entire series, this is what I have to say: I agree with you! Chivalry is a great thing and I appreciate it, but why is it that only “ladies” are the ones that have the heavy boxes, are kidnapped by scary ogres, are very tired from a long day and need to sit? Yes, chivalry is a good thing; but it should be non-discriminating based on genders. I should be able to hold the door for a young man OR woman with a heavy load, or give up my seat to a tired-looking gentleman OR lady; Both women and men should be able to perform acts of chivalry. It’s the truly Christian thing to do.

  • RW

    I have really liked these posts and am so happy to see that some guys still care. It makes me feel like such a lady when boys I know take time to help me. You may think that offering to get a girl something or opening a door is not a big deal, but it makes me like you even more when you do that. I am a bit of a tomboy and not at all weak, and I kmow you know I can do it myself, but it means everything for me to have you help me. Chivalry is a must have in my boyfriend/husband when I start looking.

  • Katy

    Just had to share:

    Recently my parents, 2 younger brothers and I were out for dinner. We were eating outside and my younger brother Nathan and I went inside for something. Nathan held the door for me and waited and held it for the lady behind me too…as she walked in she gave me a look of shock. She was in her 30s or 40s, and obviously surprised (and, I think, blessed) by Nathan’s chivalry. I was so proud of my brother…he’s so considerate!

    And, brothers in Christ…I know that sometimes, as girls, we can read into your actions too much. I’m sorry for putting that kind of pressure on you. But please know, if your actions are motivated by brotherly love and consistent with every girl you have a chance to serve, then it’s pretty clear that you’re not doing this because you’re “interested.” I once had a guy carry a box out to the car for me. I felt awkward carrying only the keys, but it meant the world to me (I still remember it 2 years later!) and he did it with a great attitude and he started up an easy conversation about some recent news. I didn’t take it as “interest” at all…he was just being a gentleman, and that blesses us, brothers!

    Girls, I think that guys respecting us in these afore mentioned ways motives us to respect them more as our spiritual leaders, doesn’t it? They are leading in the way that Christ did – serving.

    Thanks to each of you men doing this hard thing!

  • I enjoyed reading these articles done by young men who still want to be gentlemen. You outlined what a man should do to be a real gentleman so well, so could you write another article in this series on what us girls should do to be real ladies? I don’t really think that chivalry should just be a one-way street.
    Elisabeth

  • Thomas

    I like this article, thank you. I learned some new things

  • Steve Mendoza
  • Rebekah Hart

    Thank you so much for writing this. God’s been recently challenging me, through the witting of Eric Ludy, to be encouraging the guys in my life to become “Warrior Poets.” It’s really encouraging to see so many guys wanting to step up to the plate and so many girls wanting to help them. I really appreciate you taking the time to encourage us all, keep up the good work!

  • Katie Degtyareva

    Wow this was amazing! Now I can help guys be more like gentlemen knowing now what they go through because really I don’t see a lot of them out there. Thank You for this post I will make sure my brother and cousins will read it!

  • stephanie

    Like everyone else said, thanks for the post! I’ve experienced both counterfeit and real chivalry. And through it all, I’ve learned that chivalry isn’t just for guys. It’s about knowing your “place” in society. I realize that guys have a duty to serve girls. As teens, we have a duty to serve adults (especially seniors) and younger children (in a different way). To make it short, I don’t mind holding the door for my grandmother, or letting the guys I know hold the door for me.

  • Lorena

    Hey! I know this was posted years ago but I want to say how grateful I am, thank you so much! But, a guy once offered to help me with something and I declined, and then he showed that he was grateful that I declined. So now I feel kind of bad if I accept help! Should I just accept anyway, no matter how they feel?

  • Colin

    Thank you so much for this series of lessons on chivalry. It is such an important issue, and as a male I appreciate not only your straightfowardness and honesty, but also your explanation for why we should act like gentlemen. Thank you also for pointing out how the ladies we strive to serve should respond to our offers. I hope this will increase our confidence as gentlemen and allow us all to treat all ladies with respect and honor, protecting them, and serving them. For as we our Christ’s bride and he served us in the most important and unimaginable way possible, we as men need to serve the women in our lives.

  • Nicole Nalley

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write on this subject! It is so good to hear that there are truly chivalrous men out there! I have found myself in all of the situations that you mentioned at one time or another, and have often been at a loss of what to do. Gentlemanly (and Gentle-womanly) behavior is so rare these days!

  • Jordan

    I only find chivalry once a year, at discipleship camp. So, I kind of try to get as much as possible in six days no matter how inconvinient in hopes it will somehow last the whole year [“Yes, I will stop outside in the rain so you can open the door for me, even though you are ten yards away!” “Yes, I will wait next to my table for three minutes so you can pull out my chair!” “Yes, I will drink this nasty beverage because you gave it to me!”] I would DEFINITELY rather you make the effort, seriously. I don’t like chivalry because my life is incredibly difficult when I have to open my own doors or wait in line. You guys very much encourage me to be a lady. It is often very hard– and gentlemanly and ladylike behavior are mutually inclusive; we can’t have just ladies OR just gentlemen.

    Another thing, don’t open the car door for them to get out unless you’re RIGHT THERE. It doesn’t bother me (see above, I love it), but to a bunch of girls, that seems to be hands-down the most inconvient chivalry possible because they have to awkwardly sit in the car until you come around.

  • Lyra

    Jordan i SO agree :) really guys the car door thing takes forever! I guess my thing is that the only time i meet guys who are Chivalrous in the sense that they actually care about your well being is at the Youth Conference i go to in the summer. Church guys at home of any denomination just seem to fling chivalry at us. Like ‘here let me get the door adios’ not time to say thanks or hi or anything. the ignoring while helping part is what irks me i guess. I mean i’m not reading into it as ‘will you date me?’ but more like ‘i am helping you because i would do this for my sister in Christ as well as by blood’
    anyway thanks for the article!

  • Hannah D.

    Wonderful job AGAIN, Alex and Brett!

    I really feel strongly about this issue, but I won’t go into a long comment about this, I just wanted to encourage other sisters out there.

    I am a very outgoing, and independent young woman. I like doing things for myself.
    In this world that we live in today, having the mindset that I can do everything myself, is a common mindset. Called Feminism.
    I think that we often miss the comparison between having an independent mindset and having a feminist mindset. There is nothing wrong with being independent, only when it comes to the point of scorning chivalry and the commands that God have given men to perform. We need to appreciate and accept that they are willing to protect us and lead us. I want to disagree with ‘Jordan’, it isn’t awkward to wait in the car for our fathers, brothers, husbands or boyfriends to open the door. It’s gentlemanly and I appreciate it.

    I think that we who were ‘born’ :) independent (like myself), need to do some extra hard praying to make sure that we accept gentlemanly offers and chivalry with a good attitude and thanks.

    Thank you once again Alex and Brett for The Rebelution and for all your work!

    God Bless,
    Miss Hannah

  • Excellent blog, Alex & Brett. A chance internet encounter brought me to this blog yesterday, and I have since found out that my parents used to attend your parents’ homeschool seminars waaaaaay back in the day, and that I read your brother’s book as a young teen! Praise God for His marvelous plan and how He is using you and your family.

    As for the topic of chivalry, my applause and gratitude for this series which handles the topic with practicality, humor, clarity, and God-supplied grace. I think it’s awesome that the impact of the blog, and the conversation, is continuing five years after it was first written!

    First of all, kudos to all you brothers, knights-in-training who face and overcome massive obstacles on your way to becoming true gentlemen! Your efforts are both noticed and appreciated. As these writers and so many commenters make clear, it is the kind intents of your heart which are appreciated, not token gestures.

    I can identify both with a Not So Fair Maiden and with Hannah D. in being an extremely independent woman. It has taken me a long time to accept my brothers’ inherent need to serve me “as the weaker vessel” and to receive that service with grace and gratitude. I agree with Hannah, it calls for “extra hard praying.”

    Keep it up, y’all, let the conversation continue!

  • Nice way to explain. Thanks.

  • Kelsi

    Wow!! Thank you, Alex and Brett, for the series! I feel so convicted. 😛 All the guys in my youth group are very nice and gentlemanly and there has been a lot of times I’ve turned down offers to get in front of the line, or sit in the best seat, etc, because I felt bad about them being inconvenienced. But now I know better! Thank you SOOO much!

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  • Kathryn

    Just wanted to say thanks for this series of articles!

  • Quanah

    Hey! I know this is a really late comment but I’m new to the website!
    This blog helped me so much! I usually fall for the “golly do I look that weak! No I can get it myself!” lie thing! And I also had trouble saying yes because it made me feel uncomfortable! But hearing it from a guy gave me a whole different perspective! Thank you! It’s so awesome now to be able to be served and know that’s its not just for me, if that makes any sense. :)

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  • Beatrice

    Brett,
    I found your posts interesting and thought provoking but I think someone should inform you that Chivalry is dead. Don’t worry though he led a long and full life and raised two children, the Gentleman and the Lady. Not that long ago something miraculous happened. The Gentleman fell hopelessly, passionately in love with a feminist. Their relationship was trying of course but they soon got married and had a beautiful child named Human Kindness. Human Kindness is still rather new to this world and has not yet spread its wings fully. I have high hopes that Human Kindness will teach us all that gentleness is not restricted to Men and receiving acts of kindness is not just for Ladies. If someone around you needs assistance I hope you will give up your seat for them or open a door for them not because they are women but because you recognize that need for assistance and hope they would do the same for you whether they be male, female, young, or old. All in all if helping sisters in your church and acquaintance brings you closer to God than by all means help us in any way you can. But please don’t be like the priest and the Levite (Luke 10:25-37) who were so quick to walk past a fellow Man in need.

  • Fearless

    Excellent series!

  • Rapunzel

    Thank you for these articles!
    It really helped to solidify some ideas that I have been coming up with. I am so often frustrated with guys around me that either don’t help when they should or help for the wrong reasons. These articles gave me a better idea of how I should respond to different situations. I have to say though that I find fewer and fewer boys and men who act like with chivalry but when I do its like a breath of fresh air so it was really awesome to be able to read this!

  • Thank you for posting this series!!
    I admit that I am pretty stubborn and I dont generally want help from other people. The guys that I am often around in youth group tend to have the attitude of “you can do it on your own” and sit back and watch or if they want to help its probably not for the right reasons. I used to be really cynical about guys but over the years God has been helping me figure out how to better respond to them. Your articles were great to read and will help me to correctly respond in different situations.

  • Sam

    Thank you for writing on this.

  • Kim

    This is a wonderful series! The ideas and tips you share are very helpful and encouraging! And true chivalry of the heart is definitely and desperately needed. Thank you so much for writing this, Alex and Brett!

  • Olivia Chambers

    I really loved reading this series and I believe that I learned a lot! I am lucky enough to have three amazing brothers who are gentlemen or gentlemen-in-training and this is great advice for kindly directing them in the right direction. :) Thanks so much for writting this!

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