Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Outsourced Civility

Along with the benefits and advantages of our newly purchased van comes a noticeable drawback: It is increasingly difficult for me to be a gentleman.

Our previous van had only the one sliding door, so loading and unloading the family both let me be where the action was. This made it quite easy and natural for me to open and close my wife’s door for her—a small thing, yes, but it made me feel like a knight in shining armor.

Now, however, with two sliding doors, there is confusion (and panic) as I try to help with an extra port of entry. Who know it would be so hard to maintain my standard of civility? The Texas heat adds to the dilemma because I want to get our almost-toddler out of his car seat quickly before he gets too hot, all the while being aware of my wife sitting in the same situation.

Of course Maryann can open her own door, but after seven years of marriage, the tradition remains. Because of this, I feel like a failure when, out of necessity, she opens the door before I can.

I’m toying with a solution. While there are many things which cannot (and should not) be outsourced, can I outsource civility?

Enter David.

Our five-year-old is an incredibly sweet (and smart and talented) little boy. He’s lately taken great satisfaction in being able to handle the sliding door by himself (which is considerable, in my opinion, seeing as how he’s sub-forty-pounds). Can I train him to be Johnny-on-the-spot with this responsibility? Can I relinquish my long-held role as resident door-opener? Is he up to the task?

I think all three questions share a common answer: Yes! He is already a big helper; training and teaching are big parts of proper fathering; and, he is eager to serve. (As an aside, while sitting on the floor, Maryann recently noted that her back and neck were sore. Before I could put my dinner preparations aside to offer assistance, I saw our little David rush in and start massaging. In addition, he has already taken to helping and serving; he’s reading to Benjamin in this picture.)


Apprenticing courtesy, respect, and loving service.

I love being a father!

3 thoughts

Maryann said...

You make me smile, and you exemplify the principle of service. I love you.

Rockin Rowe's said...

Way to go! Still a gentleman!

Rockin Rowe's said...
This comment has been removed by the author.