One of the biggest responsibilities that comes with raising a little boy is ensuring he grows up to be a respectful man. While I want Ryan to be the sort of man who values and appreciates a strong, independent woman, I also want him to hold the door open for her.
Although this is important to me, I’d never really thought about the specifics of how or when to teach this to him. Luckily for us, Ryan has taken the guesswork out of it by making it pretty clear that the lessons should start now.
Ryan likes doors, you see. He likes to open them, he likes to close them. Which would be so perfect if he used this talent to politely open doors for folks. Instead, he is more likely to run ahead of you screaming, “I’M GOING FIRST!” before proceeding to open and close the door repeatedly, usually in someone’s face.
So, ok. Time to work on being a gentleman.
The first time I introduced the concept, it went a little something like this:
A gentleman, I told him, always lets a lady go first. Are YOU a gentleman?
Nope, he replied.
Oh, I said.
I then spent a full week reiterating the concept of a gentleman. That nice, grown-up guys like Daddy try to do kind things for others, especially ladies. They like to be helpful by doing things like opening doors. Gentlemen don’t run in front of ladies to get through a doorway first, I explained. Gentlemen open doors and let the ladies go in first.
Finally, after several resistant days of this, Ryan and I were getting ready to walk down the stairs to have breakfast.
“You should go first, Mommy, cuz you’re a lady and I’m a gentleman,” he told me sweetly.
I beamed. I glowed. I teared up. I may have even heard the faint chorus of “Hallelujah” off in the distance.
I thanked him, gushed about what a gentleman he was and walked ahead of him down the stairs to the first landing.
As my feet hit the landing near the bottom, Ryan dove ahead of me to race down the last few stairs, yelling behind him: Now it’s your turn to be a gentleman and let the Big Boy go first!