Gentlemen…the world needs more.
I love an old movie called “Blast from the Past”. In it Brendan Fraser is constantly reciting old rules of etiquette. I really do wish that people were working a little harder to preserve some of the better points of polite behavior. I love to observe how people light up when they are treated with care and consideration just because it is the right thing to do.
If you have a young man in your life, whether your own child, or one whose life you are involved in, I believe that one of the most powerful things you can possibly do for him is teach him to be a gentleman. With so few of them around these days, the skill of treating other people with courtesy can take a young man incredibly far. Courtesy does include not insulting people by wearing your pants in a way that shows off your underwear. My son often shows his off, but it isn’t on purpose. He is still ten, doesn’t have much of a behind, and isn’t really focused on fashion at this point in his development. I don’t mind seeing his underwear because I’m glad that he remembered to wear it, and everyone isn’t getting a view of his butt.
I have a friend who grew up in rural Louisiana. His mother was the local clogging teacher, which was a pretty big deal where he lived. I don’t know what her methods were, and I have heard stories of how strict she was, but that woman raised one of the most socially adept men I have ever met. He goes far beyond just opening doors for women. I have seen the man jump up and go to find a chair when a friend approached us at a table where there was no available seat. He is always observant and attentive in social situations. Not surprisingly, he is a very successful man today.
Gentlemen seek to be kind, they actively seek to avoid conflict, and they have care and concern for any creature that is smaller or weaker than they are. Gentlemen do not abuse the power of their strength, and they are always willing to help someone who is in need. I have mentioned this before, but one day, at Costco, a man insisted on putting a flat of bottled water in my car for me. He very well may have saved my back from going out, and the gesture made my day.
Work hard…really, really, hard…to expose our sons to Gentlemen and to keep them away from rude slovenly men as much as you possibly can. I know that sometimes it can be difficult because everyone does have “those relatives.” We definitely have the power to choose our friends though. Choose well, not just for you but also for your kids. Stress to young men not just how to be a gentleman, but how much they have to gain by doing so. There are so many more opportunities out there for young men who respect themselves and other people as well. We owe it to our sons to give them they tools that they need to go out and take on the world. Manners…they are very important tools.