Be a Gentle Man
I’m Old School and I have no problem admitting it. In fact, I’m proud of it! I love the modern world, and am immersed neck-deep in it – at least in terms of social networks, infotainment and learning new things. I’ve got a phone that’s smarter then me, a tablet that can hold half the books in the world, and a computer than has more power than NASA did when they landed a man on the moon. I do, however, think we’ve lost something. We’ve become harsher, coarser, and it makes life less than it could be. I reflected on this one evening not too long ago – call it part of Crawling Through Fire – and I remembered a minor meme about being a gentleman that I’d seen recently. A quick Google search turned up a lot of interesting pages and graphics that really resonated with me. So many of them were in perfect harmony with the teachings I do my best to follow. Compassion, courtesy, helping others, being a person of character, treating others with respect. I wanted to be a part of that “movement.” I wanted to see what I could do to promote those ideals again. And the Gentle Man series was born.
Way back when I was knee-high to an anthill, Dad pointed out that the word gentleman was actually two: gentle and man. He said that this was the secret, that gentleness was at the core of being a gentleman. “That doesn’t mean you’re not strong when you have to be,” he said, “that you don’t take a stand when necessary. It means that, at the center, you’re a gentle person, living with love in your heart.”
Ever since, I’ve kept that secret in my heart. I’ve done my best to live by it and honor my father in so doing. It hasn’t always been easy, and it’s true that some others have taken advantage of it. But, by a large margin, it’s been worth more than I can convey. Suffice to say that I’m far happier as a Gentle Man than I would be as a bully, a boor, or a selfish bas…. you get the idea.
Of course, one major component to Dad’s teaching on this subject was how to treat a lady. Yes, I was young enough that they were “girls,” but he taught me to think of them as ladies regardless of age. He didn’t just teach with words, either. He taught with actions, especially in how he treated my mother, how he watched over my sisters. I remember one important lesson when, after my older sister had been treated very poorly by her current boyfriend. (Let’s just say that, on that day, he was not a gentleman.) When the boy in question showed up at our house later that evening, my father met him at the door and made sure he knew that if he ever mistreated my sister in any way, he would suffer serious consequences… life-changing consequences. Dad summarily dismissed him with a final warning to never return. So, yeah… I got a real education on how and how not to treat ladies. It didn’t hurt to know that Dad would be quite displeased should I fail – at which point he would be a man, and a father, but there wouldn’t be any gentleness about it, if you take my meaning.
Because treating ladies well was such a big part of the program, I decided to start the Gentle Man series with a few points on that particular point. From there, I’ll move to other rules for being a Gentle Man. Once I have enough graphics posted, I’ll create a photo album on Facebook so you can access them all in one place. The graphic at the beginning of this post was the first one I created, and I posted it on Facebook about a week or so ago. I decided to add it to this post along with the second graphic so those who haven’t yet LIKEd the Facebook page would still see it.
One last thing – while I hope that you’ll enjoy this series, and will find benefit in it, in a way, I’m doing this in large part for myself. Spending time creating the graphics and writing these posts allows me to reflect on what I’ve learned over the years, from Dad and from others. It reinforces things for me, and makes it easier for me to automatically drop into certain behaviors. It’s good for me! And I pray it helps me be a better person.
Until next time, take good care and God Bless. May you always be a Gentle Man! (Or Lady. [smile])
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