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Encouraging the Art of the Gentleman

Posted on 21 May 2016

So, here is the scene. With small variations it has played itself out countless times over the years.

The process of finding a great outfit for one of the boys has been completed, we’ve run everything through the computer, Mom has paid and the clothing is bagged and sitting on the counter ready to go. The next step is almost a certainty. Mom reaches to pick up the bags. That’s when I step in.

“Wait a moment.  We’ve got to change something here.”  I say as I move the bags out of Mom’s reach and sometimes out of her hands. 

“What do you mean?” Mom usually asks. As I hand the parcels to her son I respond by saying:

“The ‘Mom’ contract’ does not include a pack mule or coat rack clause. There is no reason for you to carry these bags or anything else for that matter when you have a young gentleman beside you to take charge of the job.”

“The problem as I see it is that most women are so used to doing and carrying everything that they don’t ask for help and don’t give their sons an opportunity to learn and practice the art of being a gentleman. Give the young man a chance. I’m sure he can handle it. And not only can he carry parcels for you but he can hold doors open too!”

Most of the moms are a bit surprised but pleased at my novel suggestion that they have the option of receiving some help and don’t have to do all the heavy lifting. I usually receive an appreciative thank you. As they walk out of the store I am always curious as to what will happen once they set foot on the sidewalk. It’s always one of:

  • Mom takes the parcels from her son…………….or
  • The boy hands the bags to his mother and she takes them……………or
  • The son attempts to pass the bags to his mom but she refuses and he is forced to carry the bags……………or
  • Nothing changes.  They walk to their car, Mom with her hands relatively free and her son carrying the bags. 


I always smile and in my mind give a high five when Mom allows her son the opportunity to be a gentleman. I haven’t done a survey but I am pretty sure that outcome #3 is the most common.

Maybe I’m doing a little bit of good. One can hope.

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