If one were to view simultaneous films, side by side, with average Joe–citizen men from decades ago in one frame and millenium-men in the other, it might be something like “ancient-beautiful-treasure-meets-alien-monster-attack” leaving the viewer to wonder if the people in both films are actually from different planets.
That’s how much has changed. That’s how non-recognizable the “gentlemen” of the past might seem among today’s mainstream society. This is not to say there aren’t still some boys being raised in the art of chivalry and gentleman-like behavior (I’d like to think my own four sons have been), but if one were to take a stroll down a crowded street in the average city in America, I’m not sure how many would be counted as, “gentlemen.”
Since this topic has been on my mind lately, I began to consider what it is that constitutes being a gentleman. (My husband is one, thank goodness, so at least I had a ready example within my own confines.) I’m sure the following list would vary if others were to write it; yet, for the most part, I’d lay money on the chances that all the lists would have some items in common…meaning, when one thinks of a gentleman, one typically thinks of one or more of the following:
1) Speaks calmly and politely, without profanity or vulgarity
2) Opens doors for ladies
3) Stands when a lady enters the room
4) Helps a lady with her coat and/or chair
5) Does not “honk” a horn, but goes to the door to greet a lady, and walks her back to the door upon returning.
6) Tries to see a need and offers help before a request is made
7) Smiles and compliments a lady on a regular basis
8) Quickly responds to carry packages or heavy items for ladies
9) Says please and thank you
10) Gives up his seat to a lady if there are no other seats available
Gentlemen dress and carry themselves with class and dignity. They are eager to fulfill their God-given roles as protectors and providers. They support, encourage and inspire the ladies in their lives. Hmmm…a glance around a city street might make one think such things have become somewhat obsolete.
Dressing and carrying themselves with dignity and class gets a tad bit difficult when their pants are belted around their knees (with underwear showing, no doubt) and they have to grab hold and physically hold them up just to walk. Eagerness and ambition has been replaced with attitudes of entitlement that silently announce how much the world owes them, and how they want to get everything for nothing in life. Supporting, encouraging and inspiring women has taken a backburner to downgrading, demeaning and treating them as sexual commodities meant to be used and abused for personal gratification.
Let this post serve as an invitation to all men and boys-approaching-manhood. You are hereby cordially invited to take a look back in time, perhaps to your own fathers or grand-fathers, and take a few lessons on what it means to be a gentleman. Check out the art of punctuality, good hygiene, self-control, good manners, integrity, honesty and kindness.
If those words make you feel like you are reading text in a foreign language, there might be a problem. If we are going to bring peace to a chaotic world, build up, rather than tear down and restore the beauty of an ordinary family life in America, we just might want to begin with telling the men out there to rise up and be counted as gentlemen!
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.