A month ago, Jessica my youngest, a freshman in high school, rode the bus to school. It was a very cold morning with wind chills in the single digits. As she was waiting in line for the bus, shivering, a bunch of boys walked up and cut in front of her in line. I guess they were joining their friend who was already in line ahead of her. The boys got on the bus first, one by one, as she waited behind them shivering in the freezing cold.
Gone are the days of chivalry. Gone are the days of teaching boys to be respectful to girls and women.
There is more to being a young man of integrity than holding the door open. Although a good thing for boys to be taught to do, young boys need to be taught to treat girls delicately and respectfully.
Chivalry starts with opening doors, and occasionally letting a girl go first in line. Or giving up their seat for a female classmate. And they should never push or shove girls in the hallways of schools.
“What is she smoking?” you might be thinking. This is 2017, chivalry went out the window a long time ago.
A majority of what I have seen through my daughters is teenage boys treating teenage girls like objects for their enjoyment. Teenage girls are not treated with respect. What I have seen is boys hurting and taking advantage of girls, not protecting them or keeping them safe.
Did you know that according to Kholofelo Mashiloane, “The term (chivalry) was originally coined in Medieval times, describing a knight who followed a code of conduct. That code had far less to do with the doors he opened, the bills he paid, or the romantic words that gushed from his mouth–and far more to do with his character and his heart.”
A true man of chivalry was a man who protected the rights of the weak, displayed strength, character and courage. A man of chivalry was known for his integrity, his loyalty, his faith, and the way he feared his God. A man of chivalry was defined by his respect and honor for women, and his willingness to lay down his rights. ~Kholofelo Mashiloane
And how does a man get to be a true man of chivalry? He needs to be taught these things, as a boy, primarily by his father.
Fathers need to step it up. It is my plea. Please, fathers, teach your sons the right way to treat girls. Teach them to cherish, value and protect them. Not to use them. Teach them to see teenage girls through God’s eyes. I beg you, as a mother of two teenage girls.
Are fathers of boys teaching them chivalry? Are they teaching their sons the correct way to treat girls? Are fathers teaching boys how to be Godly men?
I don’t see it.
Don’t get me wrong, teenage girls can be pretty awful too; to each other and to boys. But when it comes to matters of the heart, girls are often preyed upon. The heart of a teenage girl is so fragile, so tender. And I have seen teenage boys stomp all over a girl’s heart when he is bored of her.
And I am not just talking about unchurched boys.
Currently, I am writing a chapter entitled, “Are we Different?” for my book, Pouring In, exploring that very question. Most teenage boys in the church and probably girls too are not different because of their faith. Our teenagers have blended into the culture . . . just like we have.
What if there are boys who are predators within the youth group at church? Who is going to protect the girls in the church from the boys? Do we have a responsibility to protect them?
A friend of mine from church who has all boys once said to me. “I really wish parents of teenage girls would make them dress modestly. It’s really hard for teenage boys when girls walk around in next to nothing!”
Ever since she said that, I have tried to enforce rules of dressing modestly for my girls. I have tried to support her as a mother of teenage boys. Parents of girls should be teaching them about the importance of not causing their brothers in Christ to sin. That is my job as a mother of girls.
Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall. 1 Corinthians 8:13
It seems to me, at 14 and 16, Christian boys—boys in the church—should be treating girls with more dignity and respect. They are old enough to have been taught what it means to be a young man. They are old enough to handle relationships in a more mature manner.
But, I don’t see it.
Kholofelo Mashiloane writes in his blog post, “A Real Man Of CHIVALRY,” the following.
A real man may open your door but more importantly, he opens his heart, his feelings, and gives of his life.
A real man may pay for your meal but he’s also willing to selflessly lay down his rights.
A real man may carry your bag but more than that he will gently hold your heart.
A real man may offer you his coat in the cold but he will ultimately offer you his respect, honor, and loyalty that’s displayed in how he lives his life.
A real man is one who imitates Christ in the way he loves.
Christian fathers must teach their teenage boys what it means to be “a real man.” If fathers are silent about this, the world will teach them plenty. And that’s mostly what we see. Boys misusing their sexuality and taking advantage of girls.
So, my plea is to fathers of teenage boys. It is up to YOU to teach your son the appropriate way to treat girls. It is up to YOU to teach your son how to treat a girl in a dating relationship. It is up to YOU to teach your son how to restrain his sexuality, and to protect and preserve the purity of girls around them.
I write this out of desperation, out of frustration, and out of anger for how boys have treated my daughters, boys in the school and in the church. I feel helpless and sad for them that this is the world I have brought them into. A world where a majority of teenage boys are selfish at best and predators at worst.