Thoughts on Chivalry.

Last week my friend Jordan was in Portland for a couple hours, so I met him at the train station so we could get lunch together. Since he was transferring from a train to a bus, he had all of his stuff for a month-long visit with him. As we were walking downtown in search of a delicious yet affordable place to eat, I asked if I could carry one of his bags. He said I couldn’t, and when I asked why not he said “I’m being chivalrous.” I countered with “Well, so am I,” to which he replied, “But it’s chivalrous for me to refuse.”

That’s why I’ve been thinking about chivalry lately.

What is chivalry? Is it relevant in our society? Or is it just a relic of times gone by?

chivalry  (ˈʃɪvəlrɪ)
 , pl -ries

1. the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, esp. courage, honour, justice, and a readiness to help the weak

2. courteous behaviour, esp towards women

Contrary to common belief, chivalry is not about condescension. It’s about treating people better than yourself. When one person opens the door for another person, it’s not because the first person assumes that the second person is incapable of opening the door themselves. They open the door to save the second person the trouble.

Jordan not wanting me to carry his bag wasn’t about him assuming I couldn’t (even though it was insanely heavy.) It was about him wanting to save me the trouble, and likewise, I was trying to save him the trouble.

Chivalry in its true form is indeed a relic of times gone by, but with a proper understanding, imagine with me for a second how our society and your community could benefit.

Consider for a moment if just a few people you knew behaved with more courage, honor, justice, readiness to help, and courteousness. It’s not about putting other people in their place– it’s about respecting other people and treating them better than yourself.

A new precedent of respect could slow the slide our society is taking down the slippery slope into savagery.

Despite the sad misinterpretations I personally have seen, chivalry isn’t about control, condescension, or superiority. It’s about respect, selflessness, and courage.

Think about it.

  1. I love this. Thank you!

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