They were obviously a bit impatient, shuffling and yet tense, eager to depart the classroom in one explosive rush. But the teacher insisted they wait, even if it was a bit longer than usual. The last few girls were still gathering their personal items and heading out the door. Then, as the last young lady passed into the hallway, the teacher reminded the boys to “walk, not run” on their way to the lunchroom. They obeyed, but their steps were jerky, like a Ferrari having to drive 25 mph on an open stretch of highway. A good and necessary practice of self-control, with some outside encouragement, of course.
As most of our Logos parents know by now, for several years we have been highlighting the need for upgrading the cultural aspects of our school. One significant form this has taken is in the area of etiquette. Put in biblical language, this is practicing love in the details. “Details” in this case means the small opportunities we have every day to show consideration for others. Even more specifically, we are encouraging the children to make distinctions in how they show consideration for the opposite gender. The Bible is clear about these distinctions so we believe we should be also, regardless of our culture’s never-say-die crusade to eliminate them.
So, for instance, in every grade, the boys are required to allow the girls to leave the classroom first. In the lunchroom, as they file in, the boys are to stand until the girls are seated. Young men are to hold doors for young women and ladies. (This has had the side-effect of young men frequently holding doors even for older male teachers.) During secondary assemblies, the young men are to watch for ladies standing in the back and assist in getting a chair for them. What are the girls and young ladies supposed to do for their part? How do they show consideration for their male peers? By treating the boys’ deference to them with respect, not scorn or mockery. A thankful attitude is pretty much all that’s required.
Are we just trying to hark back to the lost age of chivalry in some pathetic, anachronistic manner? After all, our mascot is a knight. Aren’t we kicking against the current social goads, or even worse, not preparing the kids for the “real world” out there, where the sexes are really the same?
No, to all the above. For one thing, the age of chivalry was hardly one we’d like to emulate – it was largely adulterous and generally without a biblical foundation. As for the “real world,” by whose definition? God made us male and female and until He rewires us, that’s what we are.
Our goal in this, as with ever other aspect of the education we provide, is to seek to prepare the students to think biblically about all they will face before and after graduation. That includes the rather critical, life-changing aspect of being married. To be clear: we are not going into the realm of marital counseling, child-rearing, or even providing home management courses, per se. But a young man doesn’t turn into a gentleman, knowing how to show consideration for a young lady, by merely turning eighteen, or twenty-one, for that matter. He becomes what he has been practicing to be since he was old enough to observe the model of older men. If he has never seen a gentleman in action or been required to act like one at five, twelve and fifteen, he simply won’t burst into one later, at the point when it matters to him. That is, when he meets a young lady to whom he does want to show special consideration. The ugly caterpillar won’t become the impressive butterfly just by wishing.
To up the ante, God designed most people for the state of marriage. As Paul tells us, He grants a few folks a special gift of singleness. This means that the vast majority of those sweet little faces coming to kindergarten each morning are heading for either a God-honoring marriage or possibly a series of heart-rending, self-centered relationships. That sounds kind of harsh, put that way, but the facts and figures of the “real world” bear this out.
The only question that we face as a Christian school then is, in regard to those facts of life, what kind of behavior will we model and enforce for our students? Will we tacitly adopt the world’s view and pretend that how boys and girls treat each other at school is of no consequence to marriage later on? Or will we, under the limited, delegated authority of our parents, seek to model and require the kind of countless, small considerations husbands should demonstrate to their wives and wives to their husbands? Which approach is really denying the reality to come in the lives of these students? Which approach encourages the biblical mandate that young men are to treat young women “as sisters, in all purity and respect?”
There is a lot to how boys and girls are to interact, wherever they are or how old they are. Suffice it to say here, in all matters of the mind and heart of a student, the Scripture and its principles are neither inappropriate or outdated. Pray for our wisdom in how we promote those principles at Logos.