At times, the older generation laments the lack of gentlemen in today’s world. Although we as people have not changed much on the inside in the last several generations, our culture has changed dramatically. There are positive and negative changes that have been made, and all of them have affected the way we interact.
Being a gentleman is not emphasized for young men as much as in the days when their grandfathers were young men, but it will always be in style. Being a gentleman includes manners and courtesies that basically show others that they are worthy of one’s respect. What can you do to teach your teen to be a gentleman?
Model the Behavior
The best way to train your teenage son to be a gentleman is by being one, or giving him another positive male role model to emulate. Choose someone who goes above and beyond in all ways so that your child can copy his behavior when in doubt. Be careful to look beyond the surface into the heart of the man and his intentions. Real gentlemanly behavior will stem from the soul of someone who truly cares about others.
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Real gentlemanly behavior will stem from the soul of someone who truly cares about others.[/pullquote]
The number one pillar of learning how to be a gentleman is understanding respect. Respect is treating others as though they are worthy of your consideration. When respect is one of your son’s most important values, he will naturally want to act like a gentleman.
Teach Kindness and Empathy
Kindness and empathy for others is a great motivator when learning how to become a gentleman. Remind your son that we are all in need of positive treatment from others, and that he can be that person to someone else. Empathy will help him remember why he is making an effort to treat others in this positive way.
For example, when your son is on public transit and an elderly individual gets on and doesn’t have a place to sit, the kindness he feels inside of him will remind him that offering his own seat is considered gentlemanly, and will make it easier for him to remember than a simple and seemingly random rule.
Learn about Manners
Although respect comes naturally from a heart that desires good for others, some of the manners in our society do not come naturally in any way. They must be learned, but thankfully many resources can be found. These range from websites, to books, to classes.
There are many rules to learn. If you can drill your son in the basics, it will make him feel less awkward in most situations. While he is young, get him in the habit of doing things like opening doors for others, using his cutlery properly, and offering to assist others when they are carrying a heavy load.
Point Out Other Gentlemen
When you notice another man acting in a positive way, point him out to your son. Say things like “I like how he doesn’t use vulgar language” or “He sure is dressed nicely. That shows respect to the bride and groom.”
Becoming a gentleman is not an easy task. Be sure to give your son praise at any available moment. When he opens the door for you and shows common courtesies in any way, let him know with a simple “Thank you, you’re such a gentleman.” In no time at all, your young gentleman will be standing out among the crowd.