Common Courtesy

Common courtesy, or etiquette, is defined as a code of behavior that delineates expectations for social behavior according to temporary norms within a society, social class, or group.

There’s a number of areas where common courtesy is applicable.  Actually, there’s a LOT of areas.  I’m only going to cover a small handful of them here.

At doors – When entering or exiting a building, look behind you to see if anyone is coming through the same door in the next 5 seconds.  If the door is going to slam in the face of the person behind you, hold it open.

If you see someone right outside, and opening the door would involve no more effort than extending your arm, go ahead and give it a push.

On the street – Say ‘excuse me’ rather than just pushing past people in a crowded or constricted space.

Wave to, nod, or mouth ‘Thank you’ to drivers who stop for you to cross on a pedestrian crossing.  It’s the law for them to stop, but it’s still polite when they do because many don’t.

If possible, leave space on the sidewalk so others don’t have to walk in water, mud or snow.  If you’re walking in a group and one person comes from the opposite direction, move behind someone in your group so that the person passing can use the sidewalk as well.

In conversation – DON’T interrupt someone when they’re talking, no matter how insightful you think what you have to say is.  This is one of the rudest things one could do in a conversation, though oftentimes people simply aren’t aware that they are guilty of doing that.  Instead: (1) make sure they’ve finished speaking and making their point; (2) “wait half a second”; and then (3) go ahead and say what you wanted to say.  If you miss your chance because someone else chimed in before you, then – oh well.  Life goes on.

In the laundry room – Knock the lint out of the lint screen after you use the dryer.

Don’t leave your laundry in the washer or dryer for hours after it’s done.  No one wants to touch your wet underwear to move it out of the way and other people like having clean clothes too.  If, by chance, the person before you has left laundry in the washer (hey, it happens now and again), be so nice as to move the clothes into an empty dryer, if available.  You might as well, and it keeps them clean away from things like spilled bleach.

On your phone – At movies, concerts, libraries – anywhere where talking is discourage: TURN OFF THE PHONE!  Or put it on vibrate at the very least.  ESPECIALLY before you go in.  Keep your mouth shut until the performance is over and you are back outside.

On a similar note, don’t text or check out your phone during a movie or concert.  The screen is VERY bright and we can all see how inconsiderate you are.

* * * * *

That’s all I have for now.  If any of you can think of other areas, or more to add to the ones I’ve already covered, let me know, or just go ahead and post them in the comment section.

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The Retrosexual Code

From the people over at That’s What We Do:

The Code:

A Retrosexual, no matter what the women insists, PAYS FOR THE DATE.

A Retrosexual opens doors for a lady. Even for the ones that fit that term only because they are female.

A Retrosexual DEALS with IT, be it a flat tire, break-in into your home, or a natural disaster, you DEAL WITH IT.

A Retrosexual not only eats red meat, he often kills it himself.

A Retrosexual doesn’t worry about living to be 90. It’s not how long you live, but how well. If you’re 90 years old and still smoking cigars and drinking, I salute you.

A Retrosexual does not use more hair or skin products than a woman. Women have several supermarket aisles of stuff. Retrosexuals need an endcap (possibly 2 endcaps if you include shaving goods).

A Retrosexual does not dress in clothes from Hot Topic when he’s 30 years old.

A Retrosexual should know how to properly kill stuff (or people) if need be.

This falls under the “Dealing with IT” portion of The Code.

A Retrosexual watches no TV show with “Queer” in the title.

A Retrosexual does not let neighbors screw up rooms in his house on national TV.

A Retrosexual should not give up excessive amounts of manliness for women. Some is inevitable, but major reinvention of yourself will only lead to you becoming a frou-frou little puss, and in the long run, she ain’t worth it.

A Retrosexual is allowed to seek professional help for major mental stress such as drug/alcohol addiction, death of your entire family in a freak tree chipper accident, favorite sports team being moved to a different city, favorite bird dog expiring, etc. You are NOT allowed to see a shrink because Daddy didn’t pay you enough attention. Daddy was busy DEALING WITH IT. When you screwed up, he DEALT with you.

A Retrosexual will have at least one outfit in his wardrobe designed to conceal himself from prey.

A Retrosexual knows how to tie a Windsor knot when wearing a tie – and ONLY a Windsor knot.

A Retrosexual should have at least one good wound he can brag about getting.

A Retrosexual knows how to use a basic set of tools. If you can’t hammer a nail, or drill a straight hole, practice in secret until you can – or be rightfully ridiculed for the wuss you be.

A Retrosexual knows that owning a gun is not a sign that your are riddled with fear, guns are TOOLS and are often essential to DEAL WITH IT. Plus it’s just plain fun to shoot.

Crying. There are very few reason that a Retrosexual may cry, and none of them have to do with TV commercials, movies, or soap operas. Sports teams are sometimes a reason to cry, but the preferred method of release is swearing or throwing the remote control. Some reasons a Retrosexual can cry include (but are not limited to) death of a loved one, death of a pet (fish do NOT count as pets in this case), loss of a major body part.

A Retrosexual man’s favorite movie isn’t “Maid in Manhattan” (unless that refers to some foxy French maid sitting in a huge tub of brandy or whiskey), or “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.” Acceptable ones may include any of the Dirty Harry or Nameless Drifter movies (Clint in his better days), Rambo I or II, the Dirty Dozen, The Godfather trilogy, Scarface, The Road Warrior, The Die Hard series, Caddyshack, Rocky I, II, or III, Full Metal Jacket, any James Bond Movie, Raging Bull, Bullitt, any Bruce Lee movie, Apocalypse Now, Goodfellas, Reservoir Dogs, Fight Club, etc.etc.

*When a Retrosexual is on a crowded bus and or a commuter train, and a pregnant woman, hell, any woman gets on, that Retrosexual stands up and offers his seat to that woman, then looks around at the other so-called men still in their seats with a disgusted “you punks” look on his face.

A Retrosexual will have hobbies and habits his wife and mother do not understand, but that are essential to his manliness, in that they offset the acceptable manliness decline he suffers when married/engaged in a serious healthy relationship – i.e., hunting, boxing, shot putting, shooting, cigars, car maintenance.

A Retrosexual knows how to sharpen his own knives and kitchen utensils.

A Retrosexual man can drive in snow (hell, a blizzard) without sliding all over or driving under 20 mph, without anxiety, and without high-centering his ride on a plow berm.

A Retrosexual man can chop down a tree and make it land where he wants. Wherever it lands is where he damn well wanted it to land.

*A Retrosexual will give up his seat on a bus to not only any women but any elderly person or person in military dress (except officers above 2nd Lt) NOTE: The person in military dress may turn down the offer but the Retrosexual man will ALWAYS make the offer to them and thank them for serving their country.

*A Retrosexual man doesn’t need a contract — a handshake is good enough. He will always stand by his word even if circumstances change or the other person deceived him.

A Retrosexual man doesn’t immediately look to sue someone when he does something stupid and hurts himself. We understand that sometimes in the process of doing things we get hurt and we just DEAL WITH IT.

* * * * *

Granted, this is taken from a blog dedicated to various forms of humor, but much of what’s been written here fits in with being a gentleman.  I’ve put an asterisk by the ones I think fit most.

Being a Modern Knight

Taken from an entry at The Art of Manliness (the original post, with comments, can be found here).

“Although the gender lines in this modern age have become increasingly blurred, there is one male/female disparity that even the most ardent feminist cannot deny: men are physically stronger than women. As such, they have from the inception of the human race been called upon to be the community’s warriors, knights, and soldiers. Fending off would-be attackers and predators, these men took seriously the charge to protect and keep safe the women and children.

Of course these days, the danger of marauding enemies or ferocious beasts has all but waned. Sure, a man must be ready to protect his home should a villain invade it or protect his lady in a street fight. But the days of men universally being both citizen and solider have passed. Yet a man’s role in protecting the women in his life has not ceased. While men are no longer called to be warriors against physical attack, we now have the duty to protect our women from emotional harm, to keep safe the hearts and esteem of the ladies in our lives.

Newsflash: Men Like Women with Curves; Women Still Think Their Butts Look Too Big

I recently came across this interesting study [original post has a broken link] which showed that while women believe a thin figure is the female ideal, men actually prefer a more curvy lady. What was even more interesting is that this story made the front page of Digg, and while Digg users are known for their terribly disparaging and caustic comments, the vast majority agreed with the results. So what does such a story show us? First, men like women with curves. Second, women don’t believe this. Third, contrary to popular belief, men are not to blame for this disconnect. The blame lies instead with the media and the catty expectations of a woman’s female peers.

While men may not be at fault for women’s skewed body image problem, we can be part of the solution; we can support the women in our lives and help them feel better about themselves. I have been rather dismayed at the number of my female friends and family who on the surface appear confident and attractive, but inwardly are pained with acute insecurities. Even beautiful women often feel ugly, fat, and unattractive. True, some men also battle insecurities, but by and large we often feel fairly comfortable about ourselves. Just take a look at the beach at the shirtless men, their huge guts hanging over their Speedo, strolling along without a care in the world.

Let me be clear about something-at the end of the day, a man cannot make a woman feel good about herself; a woman’s self-esteem is under her control and something only she can fix and heal. But it would be most naive to not admit that we are all-men and women alike-influenced by those around us. To your lady, you are the most important and influential person in her life. And you must be valiant in protecting her heart and spirit.

Being a modern knight for your lady

Be generous with your compliments. Whenever your lady is looking luminous, let her know. I often fall into the trap of looking at my wife, thinking about how beautiful she is, but then not vocalizing that thought. I figure she already knows how pretty I think she is, so there is no need to repeat it. But I have come to realize that she can never hear it enough. Insecurities never completely go away, and my frequent and sincere compliments can buoy her up each day. Whenever your lady is experiencing self-doubt, be there with an earnest and encouraging word for her.

Don’t blatantly ogle other women. It’s natural for a man to look at other attractive women and women should understand this. But men should try to keep this impulse under control. If you’re at dinner with your lady and she sees you ogling some model-esque woman, even though she knows it’s a natural impulse, the message is still going to register as, “He wishes I looked more like that.” Feeling that you only have eyes for her will make your lady feel confident and secure.

Guard against harmful media sources. Women will admit that advertisements make them feel insecure, yet they keep on reading Cosmo and other trash that make them feel like crap. Try to steer your lady away from tabloidy rubbish. Buy her a subscription to a magazine that doesn’t set the standard of female beauty artificially high.

When magazines and television do present some fake, plastic surgery constructed stick of a woman as the female ideal, you may be thinking, “Yuck, she’s so gross,” but your lady may be thinking, “I wish I looked like that.” Interrupt these thoughts by vocalizing your distaste for women who look like they are strung out on heroin or are the result of a science experiment gone awry.

Quit watching porn. When you turn to porn to get aroused, you send this message to your lady: “You are cute, but when I really want to get excited I need to look at women with cantaloupe sized breasts” Your lady, and her alone, should do if for you. And she should know that in her heart.

Steer her away from negative friends. When a woman gets all gussied up, she’s not doing it just for you. She also wants to impress other women. And who can blame her when so many women are super judgmental and critical of their female peers. Steer your lady away from negative friends who obsess about their appearance, make comments about your lady’s appearance, and generally make your lady feel insecure.”

The Qualities of a Knight, Part 2

A True Knight is Honorable – A true knight must accept responsibility for the one thing that is within his control, himself.  A true knight must always keep their word, realizing that a person who’s word is as good as their bond is held in high esteem by all.  A true knight must never speak harshly or critically of a Brother or Sister, unless it be in private and tempered with the love we have for each other. Always speaking to him or her for the purpose of aiding him to be a better knight.  A true knight must always rely on his or her instincts and those lessons taught to him throughout the course of his knightly career when deciding right from wrong.

> How often do we hear about someone making excuses so as to not take the blame for something?  Or saying they’ll do or be one thing, only to turn around and not keep their word? (I hear about this one more frequently.)  I’m normally a quiet person, but I have (unfortunately) spoken ill of someone when they weren’t around.  I’m not proud of it and if I could make things up with those people, I would.  Or at least, part ways on amicable terms.  I can – and plan to – do better as I move forward.

A True Knight Shows Excellence – A true knight must commit to excellence, and seek the highest level of excellence in all aspects of his or her life.  A true knight must always excel in his education, putting forth his best effort in all his school works.  A true knight must always excel in bearing, keeping his or her attitude and conduct above reproach. He or she should always be aware that it is through their bearing that our division be judged by.

> ALL aspects of his or her life.  My bearing – how I behave and conduct myself – is a constant work in progress.  I realize that by choosing to strive towards being a gentleman, being chivalrous and exemplifying the traits of both, that I am setting for myself standards that others will judge me by.  I’m essentially putting myself on a pedestal in order to be viewed, tried and tested.

A True Knight has Courage – A true knight must have the courage to stand up for those principles which he or she believes are right, especially in the presence of those who oppose the cardinal virtues of the Knighthood.  A true knight is never afraid to defend their own rights and those of others.  A true knight shall always stand to defend the rights of the weak, the oppressed, and the downtrodden.

> That first line really stands out to me.  As I’ve said before, I believe in being chivalrous and I believe in being a gentleman.  It’s something I feel has largely been forgotten in today’s society.  People don’t seem to believe in them as much, or esteem them, anymore.  Some of those people may even oppose those of us who stand up for these principles.  That’s when we need to have courage to keep standing, no matter what gets thrown our way.

A True Knight is Loyal – A true knight shall always remain loyal to the Order of Knighthood.  A true knight shall, at all times, remain loyal to his brothers.

> There is so much more to this one than just those two lines.  Where should I begin?  I could probably do an entire post solely on loyalty…you know what?  I think I will.  Not yet, though.  There is still a lot of information I want to share with you all.  For now, I’ll just give a brief rundown on what and who we need to be – or should – be loyal to.  God, first and foremost.  Country, although I can think of some (extreme) circumstances where this may not apply.  Family – again, there could be some extreme circumstances that cause someone to have no loyalty to their family at all.  Friends – I’m going to have at least one post solely on this subject, maybe more.  It would also work as a small series of posts, perhaps.  Boyfriend/girlfriend; Fiance; Spouse – if you are not loyal to them at least, then chances are you won’t be together for much longer.  Yourself – yes, it’s possible to say you believe in one thing and do another.  Then again, if you say that you believe in one thing but don’t conduct yourself in a like manner, then did you ever really believe it in the first place?

A True Knight is Generous – A true knight shall be generous with his time, always endeavoring to share his knowledge and experience with the younger knight.  A true knight shall always offer to help and assist whenever the need should require it.  A true knight shall demonstrate his generosity anonymously and by example, placing
the needs of others above his own.

> Generous with his time.  I read that and think about the two Sundays a month that I volunteer in the preschool wing at church.  There have been times when I didn’t feel like going in that morning, because I felt really tired or didn’t want to do anything because of how the previous day had gone for me.  Each time, I’ve managed to talk myself into going and each time I went in (on a day like that), something happened – no matter how small or trivial it may seem – that made it worth it; made me think “THIS…THIS is why I do this.”  That also ties in with offering to help and assist when need requires it.  I don’t have much experience yet with being anonymously generous, but I’m sure some situation will present itself in due course.  By example – volunteering in the preschool wing at church or anywhere else, such as an animal shelter, can be a way to be generous by example.  You can also be generous with money, belongings, food – whatever you feel led to share.

A True Knight is Well-Spoken – A true knight shall not engage in vulgarity.  A true knight shall always be heard speaking favorably about the Order of Knighthood and his kingdom in general.

> I think this one speaks for itself.  No matter who you are, you shouldn’t engage in vulgarity.  It doesn’t add anything to a conversation (except word count).  It doesn’t make you sounder any cooler or smarter or anything.  Speaking favorably, on the other hand, should be heard more often.  I don’t mean sucking up to someone in hopes that you will get something from them.  No, I’m talking about praising a host’s or hostess’s dinner, home or garden.  Someone’s behavior, how well a game was played – whatever the situation or circumstance, speak favorably and people will probably thank you for it.

A True Knight is Discreet – A true knight shall maintain all confidences reposed in him.  A true knight shall not engage in any conversation that demeans any woman in
particular, or women in general.  A true knight shall not engage in slander, realizing that that which is unseen is unknown.  A true knight shall keep to himself those things which are seen, but may cause physical or emotional damage to another.  A true knight shall keep his relationship with his lady private, and not hold their relationship up to public scrutiny.

> Keep the secrets that someone trusts you with.  Don’t talk about a woman, whether a specific one or women in general, in a demeaning, shameful or mortifying way.  Don’t gossip or talk bad about someone, whether that person is present or not.  You may choose to withhold the truth, or parts of the truth, if it may cause harm to someone you care about, but I recommend caution when using this.  It is possible that it could harm the other person anyway, regardless of what your intentions were.  As for a knight keeping his relationship with his lady private, and not hold their relationship up to public scrutiny – are you familiar with the phrase “A gentleman does not kiss and tell”?  There you go.  Talking about something that is supposed to be kept between the two of you is disrespectful to the other person.  It damages, if not destroys, whatever trust the other person had in you.

A True Knight is Pure – A true knight shall not, in any manner, bring shame upon himself or Knighthood.  A true knight shall not consume anything that hinders their fighting ability or thinking ability to the point of being useless to the land in which they serve.

> Don’t do or say anything that is shameful, either to yourself or to what you stand for.  Those who look up to you will think it is okay to act in that manner, and those who keep a watchful eye on you (like a parent to a child) will be disappointed in you.  I agree that one should not consume something that hinders their fighting or thinking ability to the point of being useless.  I would like to make my point clear: do it in moderation, whether it’s beer, wine, food, water, cigars, cigarettes or anything else you like to indulge in.  If you consume anything to the point where you are unable to perform the most basic tasks, such as standing up or walking straight, then you’ve gone too far.  King Arthur’s knights were known to drink, but not to the point of becoming unruly or belligerent.  It’s possible to eat so much food that all you are able to do is lay on the couch or floor.  Same goes for water.  Anything can become harmful to you if you consume enough of it.

A True Knight is Wise – A true knight shall endeavor to use the tenets of the Knighthood and the lessons of life to prevent foolish actions.  A true knight shall always hold the tenet “Think twice before speaking once” as the basis for all his or her dealings with others.  A true knight shall always attempt to apply practical knowledge to all of the situations he or she faces.

> Be slow to speak and quick to listen.  It’s better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.  Proverbs 29:20 – “Do you see someone who speaks in haste?  There is more hope for a fool than for them.” (NIV)  You can find a lot of quotes on thinking before you speak, or act.  Always try to be and do the best you can in whatever situation you face.  Even if you think no one is watching.

A True Knight is Courteous – A true knight shall always take the time to display those courtesies which we all are entitled to, remembering that familiarity does not serve as an exception.  A true knight shall always attempt to make others feel welcome and appreciated when visiting the knight’s lodge.  A true knight shall be patient and understanding when working with a younger knight or squire.  A true knight shall respect the fact that others have their own opinions, and not require them to adopt his own.

> “…those courtesies which we all are entitled to…” On a whim, I googled common courtesy and quickly realized that I should devote an entire post/entry to common courtesy in various locations and/or situations.  For that matter, I should devote whole entries to each of the various qualities and virtues I’ve talked about so far.  In regards to whether or not we are actually entitled to certain courtesies, we probably aren’t.  But then there is the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Common courtesy, good manners – it comes down to the same thing.

Matthew 7:12 – “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (NIV)

Luke 6:31 – “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (NIV)

If someone is visiting your home, you should make them feel welcome and appreciated.  You want them to come back, don’t you? 🙂  If they offer to help with dinner, set the table, or something like that, you don’t have to say yes.  You don’t have to say no, either.  Chances are that if they offered, it’s because they want to help so that you don’t have to do all the work.  Alternatively, there may be nothing for them to help with.  It comes back to common courtesy.

Being patient and understanding with those who are younger – I don’t think the age difference matters at all.  The patience and understanding should go both ways.  Whether you are volunteering with young children (for me, I’ve got 4 year olds every other Sunday at church), or listening to someone give you advice – whatever the situation, be patient and understanding to the other person.  Let them have their say.  Finally, know that every person has their own opinions and beliefs.  Do not require or force someone to adopt your beliefs and opinions as their own.

A True Knight is Just – A true knight shall not value himself above others or feel that he should be singled out for special treatment.  A true knight shall refrain from judging others based on outward appearances or characteristics.  A true knight shall treat all people with fairness and honesty, regardless of their station in life.  A true knight shall, when asked to, mediate a dispute between two knights, judge fairly, honestly and without malice, taking into consideration the effects of his decision on his fellow knights and the knighthood.

> All men are created equal.  You are not entitled to any special treatment just because you drive a fancy car and the other person does not.  Each person on this earth was made in God’s image and he loves each one equally.  Do not judge someone because they are different from you.  Maybe their clothes are frequently dirty – what if gardening is their favorite thing to do in the world?  Will you judge them for doing something they love?  Treat everyone equally, whether or not their gender, skin, age, characteristics, habits or hobbies are different from your own.  Should you be asked to mediate an argument or dispute, do so fairly and honestly, taking into consideration the effects your decision will have on those involved and possibly your relationship with either party.

The Qualities of a Knight, Part 1

Courtesy – to a knight, courtesy involves more than merely following rules of etiquette. It is
also an attitude, a way of presenting himself to the world. A knight carries himself proudly, maintains self-control, and accepts ill- mannered behavior with grace. He follows social customs to the best of his ability. He is polite and deferential to friends and strangers alike.

A Knight considers the feelings of others and takes care not to offend them. etc. Always demonstrates proper manners (shaking hands with friends, expressing gratitude for favors) and keeps himself immaculately groomed (bathing regularly and wearing clean clothes, Speaks tactfully and kindly. A Knight never knowingly insults or slanders another person, even his greatest enemy. If others engage in insults or slander, the Knight walks away.

Behave with dignity. A knight refrains from emotional outbursts, excessive eating and drinking, foul language, and other boorish acts.(Not saying a knight can’t drink, many of Arthur’s knights did drink, but they seldom ever let themselves get belligerent or boorish.)

Honesty – A knight always tells the truth as he knows it. He may decline or withhold
information, but will never intentionally mislead anyone, even his or her enemies. A knight may ask permission not to answer a direct question, but if pressed will tell the truth (However, he may frame his answer so as not to reveal vital information).

A Knight doesn’t make promises lightly, but once he gives his word, he always keeps it. As a marriage vow is a promise, a Knight cannot consider a divorce. The only exceptions to this is if the spouse commits an evil deed, abandonment, and the like, then the Knight can divorce.

Valor – A knight demonstrates unyielding courage in the face of adversity. No danger is
too great to prevent him from fulfilling a promise or completing a mission. His commitment is stronger than his fear of pain, hardship or even death. A Knight’s valor is particularly evident on the battlefield. He regards war as a noble enterprise and combat as an opportunity to glorify his patron.

Honor – A Knight conducts himself with integrity regardless of circumstance. He behaves in a morally sound manner even when he’s by himself or when no one else will know of
his actions. It is an admirable act to comfort a dying friend, but an act of honor to comfort a dying enemy.

The Knight shows mercy to the repentant, and refuses to inflict undue suffering, even on the vilest evildoer. Accepts all challenges to duel of fight given by those of comparable status and power. A challenge from an arrogant youngster or a drunken warrior may go unheeded.

He dies before compromising his principles, betraying his liege or faith, or abandoning a protected charge. A Knights defends the weak. Obeys all just orders from his superiors without hesitation or question. An order that is considered unjust, (disobeys the will of the patron) may be challenged or disobeyed.

Generosity – A Knight gladly shares his funds and possessions with anyone in need. He will give his last bit of food to a hungry person, even if he must go without food. If he encounters a soldier without a sword, and the knight owns two, he will give one away as a gift, regardless of the sword’s value.

He is generous of spirit, always willing to lend an ear to a troubled companion or acknowledge a friend’s accomplishments with lavish praise.

* * * * *

This blog is still in the ‘providing information’ stage.  Part 2 of the Qualities of a Knight will cover some of the same qualities I’ve already mentioned above, but will be more open (I hope) to interpretation, discussion, expounding on the information (or lack of), etc.

Chivalry – The Virtues of a Knight

The virtues of the Knights Code of Chivalry were described in the 14th century by the Duke of Burgandy as:

Faith – (1) confidence or trust in a person or thing.  (2) belief that is not based on proof.  (3) belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings or religion.  (4) belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.  (5) a system of religious belief.

Charity – (1) generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill or helpless.  (2) something given to a person or persons in need; alms.  (3) a charitable act or work.  (4) a charitable fund, foundation or institution.  (5) benevolent feeling, especially toward those in need or disfavor.

Justice – (1) the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness or moral rightness.  (2) rightfulness or lawfulness, as of a claim or title; justness of ground or reason.  (3) the moral principle determining just conduct.  (4) conformity to this principle, as manifested in conduct; just conduct, dealing or treatment.  (5) the administering of deserved punishment or reward.

Sagacity – acuteness of mental discernment and soundness of judgement.

Prudence – (1) the quality or fact of being prudent.  (2) caution with regard to practical matters; discretion.  (3) regard for one’s own interests.  (4) provident care in the management of resources; economy; frugality.

Temperance – (1) moderation or self-restraint in action, statement, etc; self-control.  (2) habitual moderation in the indulgence of a natural appetite or passion, especially in the use of alcoholic liquors.  (3) total abstinence from alcoholic liquors.

Resolution – (1) a formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a formal organization, a legislature, a club, or other group.  (2) a resolve or determination.  (3) the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.  (4) the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of resolve.  (5) the act or process of resolving or separating into constituent or elementary parts.

Truth – (1) the true or actual state of a matter.  (2) conformity with fact or reality; verity.  (3) a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like.  (4) the state or character of being true.  (5) actuality or actual existence.

Liberality – (1) the quality or condition of being liberal in giving; generosity; bounty.  (2) a liberal gift.  (3) breadth of mind.  (4) broadness or fullness, as of proportions or physical attributes.  (5) liberalism.

Diligence – (1) constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind.  (2) Law: the degree of care and caution required by the circumstances of a person.  (3) Obsolete – care; caution.

Hope – (1) the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.  (2) a particular instance of this feeling.  (3) grounds for this feeling in a particular instance.  (4) a person or thing in which expectations are centered.  (5) something that is hoped for.  [verb] (6) to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.  (7) to believe, desire or trust.  (8) to feel that something desired may happen.  [archaic] (9) to place trust [in]; rely.

Valor – boldness or determination in facing great danger, especially in battle; heroic courage; bravery.

There are most likely more words that we could add on to this list, but these are the twelve originally described by the Duke of Burgandy.  (according to http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/knights-code-of-chivalry.htm)

Chivalry – The Duties of a Knight

I’ve been doing some reading up on chivalry and have found out that there isn’t exactly a set or authentic code of chivalry in the way we (or at least I) would expect.  There’s no clearly defined list of rules, qualities or virtues.  Most of my search results yield information that supports each other.  The majority of differences I’ve noticed have only been the wording of the descriptions on individual websites.

The Song of Roland, published sometime in the 11th century, describes the 8th century knights and battles of Emperor Charlemagne, documents what has been described as a Code of Chivalry, or Charlemagne’s Code of Chivalry.  The Song of Roland itself is a rather long document, so I won’t post excerpts here.  (The text may be found at http://www.angevin.org/sor1.htm)  The code of chivalry, such as it is, describes the duties of a knight as follows:

  • To fear God and maintain His church
  • To serve the liege lord in valor and faith
  • To protect the weak and defenseless
  • To give succor to widows and orphans
  • To refrain from the wanton giving of offense
  • To live by honor and for glory
  • To despise pecuniary reward
  • To fight for the welfare of all
  • To obey those placed in authority
  • To guard the honor of fellow knights
  • To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit
  • To keep faith
  • At all times to speak the truth
  • To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun
  • To respect the honor of women
  • Never to refuse a challenge from an equal
  • Never to turn the back upon a foe

Off the top of my head, there’s 12 or 13 items from the list that seem relevant today.  Others feel rather peculiar when I think about how they would be performed now as opposed to back in the 11th century.

1) To fear God and maintain His church.  This one seems pretty self-explanatory.

2) To serve the liege lord in valor and faith.  Not relevant to today’s society, at least, not if you take it literally.  One way to do this one would be to serve God in valor and faith, other than that, I don’t see how you can do this one, given the differences between the way society is now versus the way it was back then.

3) To protect the weak and defenseless.  Stand up for others who cannot stand up for themselves.  Even when they are not present.

4) To give succor (aid) to widows and orphans.  This does not necessarily mean monetary aid, although I’m sure that would be appreciated.  You could do yard work, housework, cook a meal for someone, volunteer with children once a week – or whatever else you can think to do.

5) To refrain from the wanton (deliberate/unprovoked) giving of offense.  First thought – I wonder if this meant it was okay to give offense if the other person provoked you to it.  But I understand where this one is going.  It means that a knight was not to do or say something intentionally that would (or could) offend someone.  I haven’t found anything yet on what a knight was expected to do or how he was expected to act if someone was trying to provoke them into doing or saying something to give offense.  I would think that they were expected to not give it to the temptation to ‘teach that person a lesson’ or ‘lose their cool.’  And for accidentally causing offense, I expect that a knight would offer a sincere apology and make amends, if possible.

6) To live by honor and for glory.  I think this one is self explanatory, but I personally have an issue with the ‘glory’ part.  I’ve never been one to enjoy having a lot of attention directed at me.  I’m not writing this blog so that I’ll become famous or even moderately well-known.  I’m doing this because it’s important to me, and if people like it, good.  If younger people read it and consequently start looking up to me or something like that, fine.  I’m not an attention-seeker, or attention-hungry.  There will be times when I’ll have someone’s attention, or a whole group of people perhaps, but hopefully that will be one of those instances when it’s necessary.

7) To despise pecuniary reward.  This one ties in with the previous.  Like I said before, I don’t do the things I do for glory.  I don’t do them in hopes that I will be well-compensated at the end.  Helping someone move, lending someone a hand when there seems to be more than they can handle by themselves, etc – those should be done because it’s the right thing to do, not because you might get some cash out of it.

8 ) To fight for the welfare of all.  Self explanatory.

9) To obey those placed in authority.  This one is not hard to misunderstand, but there’s something about the word ‘obey’ that does not sit well with me.  At least as it is in this ‘duty.’  Those in authority could be a supervisor or a manager, or they could be a police officer or hold a political position.  I can understand obeying your manager or a supervisor when they tell you to do something, because if you don’t, you run the risk of losing your job.  The problem I have lies with blindly obeying the orders you’re given, or obeying without question.  If you are told to do something, and if that something is (or seems to you) morally wrong, then I would think you have the right (and for that matter, SHOULD) refuse.

10) To guard the honor of fellow knights.  Another self explanatory one.  To me, this one involves standing up for friends and loved ones, even, and perhaps most especially, when they are not present.  This involves gossip, bad-mouthing, backtalk, etc.  In the event that the offender, when confronted, refuses to cease what they are doing, then the only thing left to do is remove yourself from their presence.  Just get up and leave.  Preferably before things get violent.

11) To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit.  In other words – be fair, play nice and don’t lie.  Even when you are the victim of said unfairness, meanness or deceit.

12) To keep faith.  Self explanatory, and one that I sometimes have trouble with, for a variety of reasons, but more on that later.

13) At all times speak the truth.  Looking at this one now, I can’t help but think of the many times a wife has asked her husband “Does this make me look fat?”  As I am currently single, I have no advice or personal experience to offer on that one.  In the rest of the world, though, whether you’re in court, at work, at home, with friends or family – wherever you are and whoever you may be with – tell the truth.  …Unless, of course, it involves a present from you to them and they want to know what it is.  C’mon.  That one’s just common sense.

14) To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun.  Start what you finish.  Going to school?  Hope to see you walking on stage at graduation.  Starting a job that involves more physical labor than what you’re used to?  Suck it up and stick with it.  Doing a work related project?  Can’t wait to see the presentation.  Having trouble or an argument with your boyfriend/girlfriend?  Swallow your pride and apologize (Some things are more important than being right).  Getting married?  …I’ll let other people answer that one, since I have no personal experience in that particular area.  Yet.  The point I’m trying to make here is that though the road ahead may seem hard and the end is not visible, and you may feel worn and beaten down, don’t lose hope.  It will be worth it in the end.  *Note to self – take my own advice.*  Yes, it may be a hard road, but as the comedian Brad Stine has said: “Hard is good…It’s supposed to be.  It’s supposed to build something that we’ve lost in this country.  It’s called character.”

15) To respect the honor of women.  I cannot stress enough how important this is.  I’ve failed this…goal, duty, call it what you will…more times than I want to remember.  Every now and again, I will hear one friend or another complain or vent about something that happened – either to them or to someone close to them – and whatever the event or occurrence was, the gist of it is usually some jerk guy disrespecting a woman he claimed to have cared about or cared for.  Every time I hear about something like this, I want to help my friend, or my friend’s friend.  Most of the time, though, I can’t.  All I can do is listen; be an ear for them to vent to, without trying to fix the situation or offer solutions.

As for my own experience, yes, I’ve failed more times than I want to remember.  I’ve learned a lot of lessons the hard way over the years, and I hope I can safely say that I know better, even if I don’t always live it.  I’m trying to do better.  I try my best each and every day to uphold this duty, or whatever the right word is for this.  However I can.

16) Never to refuse a challenge from an equal.  This is another one that I don’t think is relevant much in today’s society.  Leastways, I haven’t yet been able to think of a situation that would be similar.

17) Never to turn the back on the foe.  Self explanatory.  ‘Nuf said.

That’s all I’ve got to say on the matter, for now.  I may come back to this sometime in the future.