Friday, May 8, 2009

A KNIGHT TO REMEMBER (Being a Gentleman)

Sir Galahad, a character from Arthurian literature, was the illegitimate son of Sir Lancelot and Lady Elaine of Corbenic. When he was born he was placed under the care his paternal great aunt and grew up at the nunnery. Once he became an adult, his father knighted him and took him to Camelot. At the Royal Court, Galahad sat in the “Siege Perilous”. This was a seat reserved by God for the purest of knights. King Arthur also sat in this seat many years earlier. Like King Arthur, Sir Galahad drew a sword from a stone, only Galahad’s message proclaimed him to be the “World’s Best Knight”. After setting out for and beholding the Holy Grail, Sir Galahad requested to die and his request was granted. In his death, Sir Galahad became known as the “Perfect Knight”. He was said to be perfect in courage, gentleness, courtesy, and chivalry. Sir Galahad is known the world over for his gallantry and purity.
Sir Galahad is perhaps the first and best example of what a gentleman should be. Despite the way he came into the world Sir Galahad became so much more and to so many people. Sir Galahad recognized that being a gentleman is more than a full time job; it’s a way of life. It seems that in modern day being a gentleman has fallen by the wayside. In today’s time chivalry means nothing, the good guy finishes last, and the “thug” is the in thing for a male to be. It goes deeper than that though, men aren’t taught to be gentlemen these days.
So many people do not understand that to be a gentleman means more than just being born a man. Being a gentleman is a lifestyle that for the true gentleman, never changes. At one time in history, back when the man, or the husband, or the husband and father were head of the household they taught their sons that it’s not only ok to have morals and values, but it’s expected of a man to possess and demonstrate them. Often times, morals and values come from religion. Sadly, in the world we live in today, religion is not socially acceptable to talk about, prayer has been removed from schools, and religion has turned into simply attending a building one or two days a week. If morals and values are normally derived from a person’s religion, then it’s time to get back to the basics and be proud of one’s religious heritage. Once you are proud of that then you will automatically begin to live with good morals and values.
Next, is being a leader. A gentleman cannot stand on the side lines while others dictate and just hope everything turns out alright. While a leader must be a follower first, you wouldn’t have the more qualified person following a beginner. A gentleman is supposed to be a leader in his church, community, work, and home. President Obama is currently doing a good job of demonstrate an important characteristic of being a leader, being a good role model. While it’s no secret that President Obama smoked he cut down and quit to show Americans that smoking is a bad addiction to have and that a person shouldn’t smoke. In order to be a role model you have to live a life that people admire and would want to live themselves. Most of the better leaders in life are usually role models. A man must be a good role model and leader to fit the role of gentleman.
While pop culture has elevated the status of a pimp from villain to hero, a gentleman must treat women in a better manner than being a womanizer, disrespectful, or equal. A true gentleman doesn’t date and sleep with more than one woman at a time. To take that a step further gentlemen refrain from engaging in casual sex in the first place. A gentleman treats a woman, all women, no matter the status as a lady. That means no abuse of any kind, no profanity or vulgarity of any kind in front of them, opening doors for them, going down stairs in front of them and up the stairs behind them. Treating a woman like a lady is no small task, especially if the woman is more of a harlot. By treating a woman like a lady regardless of if she is or not this shows other men that they can do it too. It also goes a step further; by treating women better they start to act better. Presently, women are treated any kind of way and because of that they act any kind of way. Treating a woman like a lady is one thing a man must also treat men like gentlemen and be polite and courteous. Men also act the way they feel they have been treated. It never hurts to say a polite “excuse me” for accidently bumping into someone rather than give the individual a dirty look and in a rude way tell one to move. Yet once again, because of the times we live in today being polite and courteous is perceived as being weak and timid. It’s a shame that a person must be rude to be taken seriously and must degrade a woman to get her attention. Yet, a true gentleman must stay on track and steadfast to being a gentleman.
Lastly, a gentleman must always watch his temper and language. Attitude is everywhere these days. People seem to think if they show a little bit of attitude that they will get their way. This is demonstrated when a customer tries to return something that is past the return deadline, when a customer’s food comes out a little late or not properly cooked, and even just in traffic and someone cuts the other driver off. A gentleman knows attitude doesn’t get him anyway. Words do a lot more but only if used properly. Even while being upset a gentleman must refrain from profanity. When I was younger I was told the only acceptable time it is ok to curse is to demonstrate extreme emotion. I have since changed my mind on that. I refrain completely from certain words because they aren’t needed in life and because they aren’t the Lord’s will. I think though, that if a word is used sparingly and for an extreme reason, and only around other men then it is tolerable. Overall though temper and language must constantly be monitored. Whatever a gentleman does someone will always see or hear and remember.
Honestly, it takes so much to be a gentleman. After all if it were easy every man would be a gentleman. What is going to happen though is both men and women are going to not only have to see a need for gentleman but they are going to have to accept them and take the “thug” off of the pedestal. A gentleman must have character, knowledge and wisdom, morals and values, emotional control, and so much more. I recognize that I can’t control or change anyone else except for myself. Although sometimes it is hard I know I will remain a gentleman in all that I do. I will do my best to show young men how to be a gentleman and why go down that path instead of an easier path. Being a gentleman is not for all, it’s not easy, but it’s a decision I will stick to and encourage others to do the same.

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