Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Measure of a Man

Just what does it mean to raise a gentleman?
Something came up the other day at the dinner table which brought out my thoughts on how important it is to raise our two boys as gentlemen. My husband was taken aback and immediately made the reply characterizing "gentlemen" as wimps (or something passive like that). It made me wonder if that is how the majority views that term. If perhaps I had a skewed definition in my head of what it is.
Well, I will tell you what kind of gentlemen I want to raise, and you can tell me if that fits the definition.
1. A Gentleman is all man.
With the obnoxious boldness of the women who are caught up in the feminist movement and the ever-more passive males who have been raised by them, it seems as though men are hard to find. When they are found (I found a great one in my husband) they are often pegged as sexist, chauvinist, uncaring: a truly manipulative trick we women can become quite skilled in. (I will write on this later)
Anyhow, a gentleman knows what it is to be a man: to spit, shoot and yell; he takes pride in those "battle scars," and could be in the wilderness for many days without a shower and feel all the better. He can raise his voice in hot debate when standing up for the truth, or can run at top reckless speed in pursuit of the "bad guy" with his toy gun holstered in his pocket. Yes, he can even proudly pee outside with the best of men. However...
2. A Gentleman knows the presence of a lady
While he can do the above mentioned things, a true gentleman would never think to perform these manly rites while in the presence of a lady unless absolutely necessary; and then, to be followed by an apology. The old phrase "I'd never hit a girl" comes to mind here and I wonder if boys of this age have heard that before? To a gentleman, that would be unthinkable. Women are the weaker ones; A gentleman knows this even when the woman does not. He excepts this not out of haughty dominance but with a recognition of roles: for the man to protect and cherish, for the woman to help and support. The wall of separation between man and woman has not, nor ever will be torn down. The rough actions of manhood are reserved for the company of men.
3. A gentleman knows the meaning of honor
Yes, gone are the chivalry days of men on horses rescuing damsels from the evil villains. I understand this and do not attempt to bring those days back and thus present a picture of imagination to live in and so escape the reality of our day. The need for honor, however, is just as important now as in former days. A gentleman must know how to keep his matter how insignificant it may seem. And he must keep his word even when culture tells him it okay to break it (divorce comes to mind here). He is concerned with his own reputation and the reputations of those he respects and loves. Nothing would he do to compromise them. A gentleman holds in esteem those who are over him (ie. parents, government, and other authorities) without speaking disrespectfully of them...however,
4. A Gentleman is Decisive
Ultimately, a gentleman knows that the weight of his decision falls on himself. He heeds the advice and correction of others, seeks the direction of those above himself, and listens as one truly wanting the best; but, he knows that, when the decision is made, it is he who will have to account for it before God and man.
Oh so much more could be said on what a gentleman is...and so much more have I to learn as I raise my boys! A gentleman, to me, is a true man. I am so thankful to have one of these as my husband and pray for grace to raise more of them for the "little ladies" out there.

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