I had recently read an article via The Classy Fella Blog back in the beginning of June about being a gentleman and the qualities one should possess and exhibit. It challenged me to be more of a gentleman and to share what I'm learning. I then proceeded to expand upon what I had read and post thirteen different “How to Be a Gentleman” tips on my Facebook page for about two weeks. I have collected them all together and done some editing to come up with my own list of 13 Ways to Live Life as a Gentleman for all of us men to remember, especially myself. This list isn’t meant to make me look good, but rather show what God has been teaching me and what I have been learning about; all of which us men need to strive to live out each and every day.
WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE - This one should be a given. It is hard to respect an adult (or anyone) when their vocabulary is full of foul language; especially in the presence of ladies and children. My father always told me that someone who consistently swears is someone who isn't intelligent enough to use a broader vocabulary; and that isn't someone I should strive to be... maybe we shouldn't let that soap in the mouth thing go to waste.
HAVE INTEGRITY - A gentleman can always be trusted. You should never see a gentleman purposely let someone down; be someone others can count on. Honor your commitments and show others that your word and promises are valuable. A gentleman is a man of high moral and ethical standards and fights to protect them. Deceit should not be something in a gentleman’s life’s vocabulary.
HAVE CONFIDENCE - A gentleman is a confident person. This can be hard these days when men are constantly bombarded that confidence is found in lots of money, cool cars, having all the latest gadgets, or the best suits. Reality check; those are all lies and just "good" advertising. A true gentleman realizes he is valuable regardless of how much cash or stuff he possess. He stands and sits straight and speaks clearly because he knows that confidence is not bought, it is learned and exhibited.
BE CONSIDERATE - A gentleman doesn't regard himself as better than anyone else and realizes that others are just as valuable as he is. A gentleman won't cut in line but will instead gladly allow someone, especially mothers or the elderly, to go ahead of him when they have fewer items than he does. A gentleman opens doors and has no problem saying a friendly “hello” while he does. A gentleman is quick to help and willingly sacrifices for the good of others. He doesn't expect others to only consider him but rather first chooses to consider others before himself.
RESPECT WOMEN - This is one of the most important qualities to being a true gentleman, or even a man in general. An "adult boy" treats women like he did girls on the playground; teasing them and moving from one to the other. That is the sign of a boy who never matured. A real man cannot be a gentleman unless he strives to treat his lady with the same care he would of pure gold. A gentleman will open doors for a lady. A gentleman will walk on the outside of the sidewalk when with a lady. A gentleman will offer his coat when a lady is cold and he will also put it on her. A gentleman loves only one woman and is NEVER a “player”; they are a one-woman man. The mark of a true man is not found in "loving" 50 women for a night, it's having the strength, skill, and desire to love only one woman for 50 years of nights. That takes courage and talent that many men seem to lack these days. So sit yourself down boys and get educated because it's time for a manhood revolution. It's time to stop adding notches to your belts and for you to cherish and protect a woman's purity. It's time to honor her and love her for her heart, soul, and mind; not just her physical beauty. Fellas, it's time we Man Up!
COMMUNICATES WELL - A gentleman will be someone who speaks boldly for what is right but in a manner that is kind and gentle. He understands the wisdom of being slow to speak and quick to listen; though isn't afraid to share his heart with others when appropriate to do so. He speaks genuine words of love, encouragement, affirmation, truth, and honesty. He aims to build others up rather than tear them down. He strives to think before he speaks; controlling his emotions to prevent hurtful words coming from his mouth. In these ways, a gentleman's words are usually more respected because when he speaks he tries to have something valuable to say.
"DAPPER DOWN" - A gentleman cares about his appearance. Not because of vanity but out of respect for others and himself. A gentleman knows he is a man of value and he aims to show that in all areas of his life. He takes care of himself because he knows that when he is in good shape he can better take care of others. He is sure to brush his teeth, comb his hair, exercise, and eat right. He pulls up his pants because a gentleman doesn’t have swag; he has class. A gentleman doesn't have to break the bank to look good. He knows that money is better spent elsewhere than solely on himself. He gives back and aims to buy products from companies that do the same. A gentleman isn't narcissistic or prideful when being dapper, but he is confident and humble.
BE A LIFELONG LEARNER - The title says it all: a gentleman doesn’t stop learning; ever. It doesn't matter if he has a GED, high school diploma, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or PhD. A gentleman isn't bound by society’s definition of education; he learns wherever and whenever he can, and can never know enough. He aims to soak in growth, maturity, wisdom, and knowledge like a sponge. He strives to study and learn more about all the things in his life; his faith, his wife, his family, his friends, his career, his interests, the interests of his loved ones, etc. A gentleman learns throughout life not only for his own personal benefit but to the benefit of others. A gentleman doesn't rest on arrogance or ignorance. He is a teacher and a student; realizing he can learn from anyone, even a child. It doesn't matter if he is 25 or 95, a gentleman stays humble throughout his whole life; understanding he will never know everything but finds joy in the adventures of learning.
BE WISE - A great benefit to being a lifelong learner is that you should be growing in wisdom and a gentleman strives to be full of wisdom. A gentleman should listen attentively and lovingly offer great advice. A gentleman strives to wear wisdom daily, like a crown upon his head; realizing the significance and importance of it. A gentleman isn't perfect and makes mistakes like all of us, but he seeks to understand why to try and prevent them from happening again. He freely shares the wisdom's of his life to all that seek it and doesn't fear the advice of others. Being wise doesn't just mean giving good advice; it also means to be able to receive it. A gentleman listens, learns, and is humble at heart. He embraces the correction, discipline, and instruction of others. He cherishes experience, knowledge, and insight. A wise man, a gentleman, is sincere, genuine, merciful, compassionate, considerate, controls his temper, and strives for peace.
BE A GREAT HUSBAND - A gentleman understands the value of having the lifelong love of one woman's heart. He wooed her with his chivalrous and respectable ways while dating but doesn't stop once they've gotten married. A gentleman continues to woo his woman after she becomes his wife. A gentleman honors the vows said at his wedding; knowing that "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish 'till death do us part" aren't just some cheesy romantic words; they are a meaningful and UNBREAKABLE promise. A gentleman doesn't quit his marriage; no, that would be too easy. A gentleman boldly takes the challenge to love his wife unconditionally. When it's hard to love his wife, he loves her even more. A gentleman knows that his wife's greatest need is his tender love. He doesn't demand respect, he earns it each day. A gentleman works hard for his wife; he sacrifices for her, he listens to her, he shares with her, he honors her, he praises her, he cherishes her, he takes care of her, and above all, he stands firm in the commitment they made when their love seemed to be at its peak; knowing that the joys of love don't end when the joy of loving doesn't end. Like anything worth achieving, a gentleman knows that the sweetest victories come from the hardest battles. Marriage may be a tough battle to "win" sometimes, but it holds the deepest pleasures and most rewarding triumphs.
BE A GREAT FATHER - A gentleman stays a gentleman all his life, even after he has kids. A gentleman continues to live out all of his great chivalrous qualities so that his children may learn from him. He is loving with his children, understanding that love is our greatest need as people, no matter what age. He is patient, gentle, and calm with them. He cherishes them, knowing they are a gift, and reveres his time with them. He allows his kids the freedom to be individuals but isn't afraid to firmly discipline them to protect them and teach them. A gentleman father teaches by word and by action. He is active with his kids; whether it's with their school work, during their play time, in their individual hobbies and interests, in their disciplining, or even during their bedtime routine. A gentleman father is there for his wife and kids. He spends time with his family and realizes that the real treasures in his life aren't earned at the office or bought at the store; they are found at home. One of the most important truths to being a great father and gentleman is to love their mother well; showing your children what a loving team and lifelong friendship should look like. A gentleman understands that there are WAY too many fatherless homes and therefore takes the challenge to refrain from making love to a woman unless he is prepared to be a father. He respects the woman, the possible future child, and himself enough to understand that great power comes with great responsibility.
SERVE OTHERS - Mahatma Gandhi once said that "the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others". There is something really great about serving others rather than yourself. The humility and generosity of offering your services to someone rather than yourself, always grants the greater rewards and deeper joys. A gentleman knows that his life isn’t about himself. He understands that improving the lives of others around him is what truly holds value. He strives to be a lifelong learner and obtains knowledge and skills for the main purpose of sharing it with and helping others. He doesn't horde things for himself. What purpose would that have anyways? No one wants all that life can offer but not enjoy it with others. A gentleman gives just for the sake of giving; and he gives gladly. He relishes the opportunities in life to bless others with his talents, time, knowledge, and money. A gentleman is a man of humble integrity so he doesn't require a "parade" for each of his good acts. Gratitude and thankfulness are his rewards, and even if those are scarce, doing a good deed is reward enough. A gentleman can be anybody, and he knows that he can serve no matter his circumstances in life. Martin Luther King Jr. so eloquently describes what is necessary; "Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve... You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." That's the core of every gentleman; a heart filled up with grace and a soul that is powered by love.
LOVE JESUS - This is the "last" but MOST important advice to becoming a gentleman. Jesus is the ultimate gentleman. He lived a perfect life in complete submission to the perfect will of His Heavenly Father. He trusted the headship of God in His life; the one who teaches all of us men, through His Word, how to be gentlemen. During His life on earth, Jesus cared for the sick, He served others, He never stopped learning, He was the epitome of wisdom, He respected women and even protected the ones that society deemed "worthless", He knew how to communicate well, He was considerate, He was humble, He was strong (imagine going through what He did and not retaliate in anger or violence), He was very confident, He was the definition of integrity throughout His life, He loved deeply, and He was a great leader. Jesus is the best gentleman to look up to and aspire to become because He is the only man to live without fault. Even the noble knights of old served a king; and there is no better king to serve than Jesus, the King of Kings. When a man chooses to begin to love Jesus, Jesus can then begin to change him into the "perfect" gentleman. All of the qualities of a gentleman can flow freely from a humble heart that loves Jesus.