With my hands on the bar of the stroller and the boys on the piggy back, we got to the french doors of a long hallway, the two boys immediately jumped off and ran to the door and struggled to push it open. I told them I could help but Micah said, “No Mama we want to open the door for you. We are gentlemen. We can do it. Titus lets do it together. Ready…Go!” I beamed with joy as I watched my 4 year old and 2 year old push as hard as they could just to open the door for me. With proud faces they held it open for the person behind me as well. The older lady behind me thanked them and complimented them after. She told me, you are raising fine young men. I thanked her as we all parted ways. I pulled over and turned to the boys and told them how much I appreciated their act of kindness. Micah responded, “Mama I always remember Papa said always open the door for mama and others so I am practicing it. I’m also teaching Titus how to do that. He is doing a great job. It’s fun to serve other people.”
Right then I knew I was doing something right. I felt so proud at that moment – my little boys were learning to become men.
My husband who has been very intentional with his boys has laid a beautiful foundation for their future. He has taught them how to be kind and how to serve one another with his words and his actions. In many ways, he is showing my boys how to be the kind of men I one day would like my daughter to marry.
Here are five ways we try to teach our boys to be gentlemen.
1. Lead by example.
Boys need a role model, someone they can look up to and learn from. Someone who will explain things to them in ways they will understand. My husband has been doing an amazing job with this. Whenever we are together, he still opens the door for me and reminds the boys to always remember to do so as well.
2. Make eye contact.
We want our boys to walk into a room with confidence, to shake someone’s hand and look them in the eye. Making eye contact helps build self-confidence. We are still working on this but it’s a work in progress.
3. Be Respectful.
Every gentleman uses the words “Please”, “Thank you”, “Excuse me”, “Can I help you?” and “I’m sorry” (when necessary.) If my boys demand something or speak with an unkind tone, they are asked to repeat in a kinder voice. Nasty words and an unkind tone equals an unacceptable attitude. Unacceptable attitude comes with a consequence. Respect is a huge deal in our home. Please and Thank you will always be the magic words. Again, this is a work in progress.
4. Appreciate them.
Whenever we see our boys show kindness and love towards others we praise them. We always tell them how proud we are of their character. We try to be specific with what character of God they displayed and it was a reflection of God’s love. They feel proud and are encouraged to continue doing so.
5. Be a man of your word.
Matthew 5:37 says “But let your word ‘yes be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no be ‘no.’ Anything more than this is from the evil one.” We are teaching our boys that they need to learn to be trustworthy. That their word means something. When they agree to something, they are accountable for it and they must follow through with it. If they say yes to helping mommy with the dishes, they need to do as they say and complete the work before moving on to something else. This is true for us as well, if we say yes to playing a game with them or letting them watch a TV show before bed, we have to follow through.
Even with the countless opened doors and polite pleases and thank yous, we still want them to really grasp and understand that all of these must be done with a heart of worship. We pray that they will grow up to become men of honor and be a reflection of the Lord as they serve others. No matter how big or how small the task is, we want them to always remember to act like men of God.