13 Things Every Gentleman Needs to Understand

What does every guy need to understand in order to be a gentleman? What traits and characteristics would I want every man in society to have?  As a parent, I want to raise my two year old son to be a gentleman, not when he is older, but starting now.  Life is a learning process and based on my experience, this is what I want him to learn as he gets older:

Being authentically yourself is the best you can be.
I've learned many times over (and still to this day) the value of being true to who I am.  There have been countless times I've tried to be like someone else because I didn't want to be me, but the same lesson comes back and hits me: I can only be me. Everyone else is already taken.  I might as well be the best me I can possible make out of me.

Context is everything.
The difference between making the right decisions and the wrong ones is understanding context.  Usually an issue/problem/obstacle is more complex than it seems.  Understanding the background and details of the situation makes all the difference.

Intelligence is invaluable.
It may sound obvious, but it pays to be smart.  Our society is plagued with the cool-guy slacker mentality.  Having intelligence and the skills to apply them are worthwhile traits that few people are blessed to have. It opens doors of opportunity, enhances career options, and gives people a better chance of having the dream life they desire.

Grace is just as important as strength.
Being strong is good, but having grace is having the control to use both strength and grace when appropriate.

There is strength in showing emotion.
As kids, boys are taught not to cry and that showing those emotions are a girly thing (and that's bad).  We're told that it's a sign of weakness and to "man up."  This generates a lifelong internal conflict of bottled emotions.  Our emotions make us who we are.  They make us strong leaders when we can empathize with others and well-grounded human beings when we can sympathize.

Being brave comes from being afraid.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to move forward despite being in the face of fear. Without fear there is no courage.

It takes a lot of manliness for men to play with their daughters.
Men have sons, but they also have daughters. Playing with their sons is manly, but so is playing with their daughters. In my humble opinion, it's the manliest thing a gentleman can do.  Putting aside any "unmanly" reservations about playing with their daughters in any way is a sign of a true gentleman.

We will never truly understand what it is like to be a woman.
I can imagine what it is like to be a woman in this gendered society. I can think about how it feels to be a girl walking alone at night.  I can wonder what it feels like to be pregnant and feel life grow inside of me. As much as I know what it is like, I will never truly understand the depth and complexity of it.

Communication and compromise are keys to every great relationship.
Communication brings people together, compromise keeps them in harmony.  When people understand each other and can make appropriate decisions on both of their behalf, it is a good relationship.

It's okay to be wrong sometimes.
Everyone isn't 100% right 100% of the time (myself included).  Making mistakes gives me opportunities to grow.  Learning from my mistakes allows me to muster up courage (by admitting I was wrong), repair relationships, a wake up call, and wisdom for the future.

At times, it's perfectly fine to ask for help.
Growing up, I didn't like asking for help. I always wanted to prove that I could do whatever it was on my own.  For some reason, guys are conditioned growing up to think that asking for help is a sign of weakness.  It's a destructive thought for the ego and counter productive.  If you've tried your best to seek out every possible solution and still need help, it's not weak to ask for it.  It would be far worse to stay stuck.

Real gentlemen cook/clean/do whatever it is necessary to be a responsible human being.
As a family man, I do whatever it takes to take care of my wife and son.  Sometimes I cook dinner, sometimes I do the dishes, and most times I do both. Sometimes it's easy and other times the chores are physically taxing, especially after a long day at work.  Even if I don't want to, I still do it anyway (with the best attitude I can muster), because I am fully committed to do anything and everything to tend to my family.

Being a gentleman is sexy.
Enough said.

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