This I Believe

Frank - Miami, Florida
Entered on December 7, 2006

Being A Gentleman

A gentleman is defined as a courteous, gracious man with a strong sense of honor. That’s one definition Webster’s dictionary, as well as Roget’s and The American Heritage dictionary seem to have in common, and after an impromptu poll of my peers and colleagues, the definition people have in mind when the term is used. That means, he’s the good guy who helps old ladies across the street and treats people with kindness and respect. It is assumed that he takes responsibility for his actions. But he also much more than that.

To be a gentleman is to make a lady (of any age) feel like she’s the only one in the room while speaking to her. It’s about not ogling her body when she bends over to pick something up. It’s about strength of character. It’s not just merely doing what you said you’d do, but surpassing it in a spectacular way. It’s about showing genuine concern for the wellbeing of those you’re fortunate enough to come into contact with. It’s welcoming each day with thoughts of how to be better than the previous day and doing everything you can to make it happen. It’s being stubborn in the face of overwhelming odds and selfless when selfish is expected. When fathers raise sons, it’s these ideals that they hope to instill in them, even if they don’t have it within themselves.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed the world is not a kind place to live. People hurt each other at will, at times for no particular reason. I’ve always thought that the bigger and stronger you are, the nicer you’ve got to be. So, I’ve chosen to help people whenever I see them in need of assistance. I make myself available to not only friends and family, but casual acquaintances and perfect strangers as well. I see each person as someone’s relative, and wanting my own relatives to be treated kindly and fairly, I do so in return. I understand that I can’t want something for someone else that I don’t want for myself . I wonder how many crimes would take place if more people kept that in mind.

Being a gentleman is about being a true man, one that shows masculinity not by boasting about his accomplishments, but by using what he’s learned from past failures to fix his mistakes and become a better man. A gentleman understands that true displays of masculinity can come in moments where the opposite is required. It is in this that I believe.