Is chivalry dead?
Sadly, I think it might be if recent actions by Captain Francesco Schettino after the tragic cruise ship Costa Concordia accident is any indication. I understand, he had a duty and responsibility for the safety of the passengers. Still, if he had any sense of chivalry he would have done things differently.
What happened to the notion of women and children first?
I know, some of us are thinking of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, pilot of flight 1549 that landed safely in the Hudson River after an emergency. How can we compare the two captains! What with Captain Schettino taking leave of his senses after running his ship aground. “Everyman for himself” seemed to be his first and only thought following the accident.
The two could not have handled the situation more differently. Both captains had an emergency situation that involved the safety of many lives. Captain Sully remained on his wrecked plane as it floated precariously on the river. He not only went to the back of the plane, he did so twice to satisfy himself that no one was left behind. I can't imagine how terrifying those minutes were as he
walked waded waist deep down to the back in darkness. He emerged as a hero. On the other hand, as luck would have
it Captain Schettino was one of the first to reach safety by taking a accidentally tripping
and falling into a lifeboat. However
he got to safety there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that he abandoned ship and in
doing so not only did he brake the law, but he disgraced his country in the eyes of the world.
I could not help noticing that Captain Sully is older than Captain Schettino. Could the obvious difference in age be the contributing factor as to why the two captains acted so differently under pressure? I don’t mean inexperience. I mean, the generational difference. Because I have no doubt that had the accident occurred years prior, Captain Sully would have reacted in exactly the same way as he did on that fateful day on Hudson River. It is called good character. I think, more and more of the younger generation of men lack good character and a sense of chivalry. To-be-sure, not all young men are lacking the chivalry gene, and those that are chivalrous should be acknowledged.
Some would argue that feminism killed chivalry. I would disagree, although the subject deserves it's own blog entry. Suffice to say, chivalry has more to do with basic good manners and compassion rather than taking care of the fairer sex.
The standard we hold for captains is much higher than our expectation of the average Joe. Indeed, this is sad commentary on our society. There was a time in our society when there would be no question that in a dangerous situation, women and children, would be lead to safety first.
We should be teaching our sons to be mindful of those around us by demonstrating through our actions good behavior. Start small like opening the door for someone behind you. What about looking up from your electronic devices to give up your seat on the bus for an elderly person, a pregnant woman or a parent with a small child. It’s about raising the bar and expecting that no matter the situation that man will do the Right thing… the Chivalrous thing.
It boils down to the “code of chivalry” … society needs to pay attention to Captain Sully's example. But it begs the question, if we are not doing our duty as parents, where are the likes of people like Sully going to come from?