By Suzanne Thomas

Is your son a gentleman?  Is he someone you would want your daughter to go out with?  Behaving like a gentleman is much more than refraining from making rude noises in public or knowing which fork to use at the proper time.  Does your son understand how to truly be gracious?

Sometimes young men learn manhood from their fathers or from other men in their lives.  However, my boys needed both of their parents to teach them how to be gentlemen.  Of course they watched their dad treat me like a lady, holding doors for me and carrying bags for me all their lives.  It’s not that I was weak – I was a stay-at-home mom so they watched me open my own doors, do yard work, wash and wax our cars and carry bags when I needed to.  But they also saw my husband do those things for me when he was around.

In addition, our sons went on “dates” with me when they were young, just like my daughter went out on father/daughter “dates” with their dad.  Those evenings were priceless for all of us!  My husband would slip my “date” some money and explain to him that a gentleman is always prepared to cover the cost of the evening.  My older son protested early on, “But, Dad, that isn’t fair!  Why should men have to pay for everything?”  My husband looked deliberately my way, looked back at my son, winked at him and said, “Son, you’ll find it’s worth every penny.”

We also taught our sons to open doors and hold chairs for girls, to help them with coats or sweaters, to offer to order for them after they made their choices, and to never talk about women in demeaning ways.  And we often had long, meaningful conversations over meals.  But that was only the beginning.  As parents, we hoped and prayed that over time, our sons would learn how to communicate with the opposite sex in ways that are respectful and honest.  We wanted them to be true followers of Christ, good friends, companions, husbands and fathers.  Raising them to be gentlemen was an integral part of that process.