For the past couple of years, there seems to have been a trend of people selecting a single word to focus on for each year. The word typically represents some area of life in which the person wants to improve, or at the very least, in which he/she wants to focus.
In late 2013, I thought about doing this for 2014, but (honestly) just never selected my word. I thought about it, but just did not put any real time into it, so I let it go.
However, as 2014 wound down and 2015 approached, I knew this was something I wanted to try. Moving and the holidays made it where I didn’t select a word until a few days into the year, but that’s okay. Today, I want to share my thought process and reveal the word I have chosen for 2015.
From the time I started thinking about my word for 2015, I had a general concept that I wanted to work on. Thinking of one word to convey that, however, proved more difficult than I thought.
In short, I want to improve on things such as manners and having a dignified spirit. I do not feel these are things I am woefully inadequate at, but they are areas I need to spend some time focusing on, for sure. Further, I see these ways declining in the larger society, and I would like to do what I can to buck that trend.
Knowing that, I narrowed my thinking down to three words. The were quite similar, but the one I chose seems to capture all of this the best. It may be a very specific word, but I think it puts in my mind what I want to be better at.
First, I considered the word “manners.” While manners are certainly part of what I want to improve upon this year, that seemed to not capture the dignity part of what I was thinking.
So, I moved to the word “gentleman.” I liked this word, and almost went with it, but I think this word has taken on such a double meaning (think “gentleman’s club,” for example) that it did not capture, in a focused way, what I wanted.
Finally, after a lot of thought and prayer, I have settled on this word for 2015:
That may be a very old-fashioned word, but it is what I feel is lacking among many men in our society, including myself. It includes having very good manners, but it also carries the sense of dignity that I want to have in my life.
I settled on this word for three reasons:
1. Spiritual. Some may think that a man who treats ladies properly and has great manners is a bit odd, but no one can think that a man who has chivalry is a stumbling block to knowledge of God. Honoring others through good manners and real dignity will mean that I do not stand in the way of people seeing Christ in my life.
2. Relational. Other people deserve to be honored. Most importantly, this goes for my wife, who deserves to be honored simply because she is a lady and she is my wife. But others deserve to be treated with true dignity. I am going to work on things like standing before those who are older than I am, saying “yes ma’am” and “no sir” more often, and trying to bring dignity to various conversations. This should be done for the simple reason that people deserve to be treated with dignity.
3. Parental. As a dad, I want my son to be a man who still is chivalrous simply by following my example. I want my daughter to know that this is how a real man treats ladies, especially the lady to whom he has pledged his life.
Will I be perfect at this? Certainly not! That is why I have chosen it for my word. I have a long way to go to be a man who has real dignity and decorum in all settings and who treats people with the respect and honor they deserve. But a few steps in that direction this year will be a great way to spend 2015.
Here’s to being a person of chivalry!
Photo background credit: British Council Seminars on Creative Commons