We stood in the kitchen cooking dinner together. We could hear the kids laughing in the playroom as they kept themselves busy so Dad and I could actually enjoy a few minutes of adult conversation and alone time.
“I completely forgot to tell you yesterday”… my ears perked with intrigue as my husband mentioned a conversation he had with someone who stopped him in the hallway at church. He began to recount what this woman told him that she and her husband have witnessed at church on Sundays and how impressed they have been with our Tanner. She spoke of her adoration for Tanner and the opportunity she had to get to know him substituting in his Sunday school class earlier this year.
“It has always amazed me and caught my attention at how much of a gentleman he is. And it’s never something that you and your wife are urging him to do in the moment. I watched him today as the congregation moved out of the chapel and into the hallways for classes. All the boys Tanner’s age and even older run right out the door, but I watched as Tanner walked towards the door chatting with friends. They moved into the hallway and he stopped and looked behind him to see if the door needed to be held for someone. There was a woman with her hands full heading that way and he stayed put and made sure the door was held for her.”
My husband told me that all he could do was smile as she told him how amazing it was to see. She continued on…
“My husband teaches and works with the older boys and is constantly telling me how much he tries for them to mind their manners. And even he has noticed Tanner several times and is in awe of how he carries himself. A few Sundays back, he watched as Tanner helped all of the fathers fold up the chairs when church was done. As he worked through each row, there were two women still sitting down deep in conversation in the back of the room. Tanner had folded up all of the other chairs and my husband watched as he quietly stood, leaning against the wall allowing the women to finish their conversation until they got up and left. He didn’t interrupt them, he didn’t even politely ask them if he could take their chairs. He simply waited off to the side so they didn’t feel pressured to wrap up their conversation. My husband was so impressed and I have to say that you and your wife have done it right. He is such an amazing young man and you should be proud.”
Jarett looked up from the stove and there I stood in the kitchen, tears rolling down my cheeks as I listened to him recount the conversation. He pulled me close and kissed the top of my head. And in that moment I simply felt blessed. Blessed to be the mother of such an amazing young man. And the mother to a second who is following in his brother’s footsteps. And I don’t know what I did to deserve it.
I grew up in a home full of girls. Well, I did have my father around, but that was only for ten short years before he passed away. It was a short time for me to have an example within our home of how men should behave and act. My father put all of the women in his life first and it was the best example I could have started my life out with. Navigating through the dating years without that fatherly presence was tough, but through what my mother taught me and what to expect out of men, I knew where my standards stood and I am blessed with a man by my side who puts me and my needs first. Who is the most selfless human being I have ever known. And who has never-ending patience. Trust me, I am not the easiest person.
So when we found out we were having a boy back in 2005, you can imagine the fear I felt. I knew nothing about boys at that point in my life. And while I still find myself shocked on most days with the amount of wrestling, gross humor and food it takes for boys to survive on, there is one area that my husband and I never let up on. And that is their manners. It is something that came naturally for us as parents. Don’t get me wrong, the boys have their off days and we make a lot of mistakes as parents and I am sure my kids will have plenty to tell their therapists when they are adults, but we have never let them get away without a “please” or a “thank you”. We have always expected the boys to help carry things in from the car and what not. We have always asked them to hold the door open for their sisters as well as myself. We have always told them “ladies first”. And we have always taught them to never touch a girl.
They may seem like archaic notions this day in age, but for us it has been important that our boys know chivalry is not dead. I know the impact this has had within our home and as a family, but I never would have guessed that it would impact anyone on the outside and this early on. And that woman will never know what it meant as a mother to hear her praise towards Tanner. Because in this day in age and the world we live in, it isn’t easy.
Here’s to modern-day gentlemen and being the mothers that are blessed enough to raise them…