"What is the Meaning of Chivalry?"
The word "Chivalry" is steeped with controversy and intrigue. The value of Chivalry in modern times is an idea many have considered. But to really understand the significance of chivalry, we first must ask the essential question "What is the Meaning of Chivalry?".
The dictionary provides this description for Chivalry: "The sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms." The definition embodies all of the things we do to make ourselves a better person. Put simply, to practice Chivalry means choosing to be the best person you can be. Being bold, dressing well, eating right, taking care of yourself, supporting those around you, and honoring individuals you encounter by chance or circumstance.
That may seem like a different notion of Chivalry than what you're used to. You may ask yourself, What does "being the best you can be" have to do with opening the car door for a lady. The answer is simple: When we see chivalry in action, we are looking at what honor, respect, and caring looks like from a distance. By holding a door for someone, you demonstrate that you value them, and at the same time, you are showing others a better version of yourself.
So, why just ladies then? Why not open the door for everyone? Answer: if that is how you wish to show respect and honor to all, then by all means do so. It is a "choice" after all. But remember to consider the opinion of the person you are "honoring" as well. Not everyone will appreciate the gesture in the same way.
Our world is full of options. You can make whatever choice is most pleasing and provides you the most satisfaction. In fact, you can do whatever you wish to do in your life, but know that this is not always the "Chivalrous" course. To quote Haruki Murakami, "A gentleman is someone who does not what he WANTS to do, but what he SHOULD do". This "choice" we make to do the right thing is what we define as "Chivalry". And unlike many other institutions, It is not a set of rules that are imposed upon you, Instead this is what you yourself elect to do. It is how YOU choose to express to the world who you are.
Chivalry is not a religion. It is not limited to one denomination or another. It does not restrict you from visiting certain places or associating with certain people. In fact, Chivalry is possible without religion at all, It does however, require "Faith", because like religion, Chivalry is something that you take with you wherever you go; into every environment you visit and to every person you encounter. But it's purpose is not to "convert" others as much as it is to "convert" yourself... into a better version of you. If others hearts are changed by meeting you, then you have met the challenge well.
Some consider chivalry to be just flirting or romantic "courting". Some are wary and find any act of kindness as self-serving. But the man who is truly chivalrous seeks only to express his true soul to others around him. You may wonder of the difference between someone who is genuinely chivalrous vs someone who is just pretending to be so. If you wish to judge, I paraphrase Justice Potter Stewart, "I know it when I see it".
Many are content to declare the idea of Chivalry dead on the battlefield. But we feel it's more important now than ever. It is something that should be guarded. It needs a defender. One who fights for the belief. A Knight of Chivalry is a Soldier for the cause of Chivalry. He faces the cynical. the self-centered, and unconcerned alike. He is the representative of the faithful. The Ambassador of Right and Good.
Today Chivalry needs a Champion. Someone to protect it and keep it safe from harm. Maybe a few good men. Perhaps even a Knight in Shining Armor.
A Knight of Chivalry
Chivalry = The Pursuit of Excellence
Chivalry = Being the Best You Can Be
Chivalry = Doing the thing that is Right