What does it mean to be a gentleman? Has the word, even the phrase "be a gentleman," been lost in history, in culture, and in translation?
Being a gentlemen has had many meanings over the decades: It meant that one was chivalrous toward their common man, especially toward women. Being a gentlemen also was associated with wealth and membership in high society. Even though these associations are out of date, the word "gentlemen" and the idea of being one is still very much part of our current culture. So then, what does it mean to be a gentleman in our culture?
Current social values dictate that being a gentleman is simply being kind and respectful toward all peoples, especially toward women: holding the door for women, paying for their meals and such. But perhaps being a gentleman can be more than simply being kind. Perhaps, being a gentleman can become more than what it means, currently.
As members of the current culture, we have the right to take ownership of this word and its meaning. Therefore, let us do just that: I offer these simple axioms, which will help men to become the gentleman we ought to be.
Men, in order to become gentleman, we must do these three things: First, and above all, we must become philosophers. By this, I do not mean that we must become Ph.Ds in philosophy, but that we must become, as the word actually transliterates to, "lovers of wisdom," or in other words, we become educated.
We must value education and all its rewards, because it is through education that we sharpen our perspectives of the world, of the people around us, and of the current state of the system what govern us. It is through education that we are then equipped to make better decisions, for ourselves and for our world.
Second, we must make the most out of life, as poetry says "seize the day." We must take advantage of the opportunities we are offered in life. By applying this idea in our lives, we become men who aren't afraid to experience new things; we become men who are willing to make the most out of our lives. Consequently, we will be able to relate to others and a different array of situations in life.
Lastly, we must, in effect, learn to love. We must love others. Loving others means allowing others to make mistakes, allowing others to trip up, not being quick to point out others' wrongdoings, and giving an opportunity for your fellow man to be his own man, and not slave to your own wants and whims. These things, men, are what qualifies you as a gentleman in our age.