In the recent years, I have discovered that there seems to be a general lack of gentlemen about! Maybe it’s the weather or me moving up further North, but have dudes forgotten how to love people appropriately in a way that helps them grow mentally, spiritually, and emotionally while still protecting the hearts of women that don’t really plan to pursue towards marriage? Sorry. I know that’s a loaded sentence and probably isn’t grammatically correct, but for real!
Well… personally I am not okay with this degradation of southern charm and today I’m going to do something about it!
First, I’m going to speak to any guys who may be reading this. Because honestly, we are the problem. Women have their own role to play in helping to shape us up, but before I talk to them, I’d like to give just a few SUPER SIMPLE tips to how we as men can start to reclaim the southern hospitality that used to be expected of us.
The next question is pretty obvious: Why? What’s the use of holding doors and putting our coats in water? Women don’t like that stuff anymore! For some, yes, you may be right. But being a gentleman is more than holding doors! Let me explain. I grew up in northern Alabama and we would often visit my mom’s parents at their cattle ranch in Lowndsboro, Alabama. If you don’t know where that is, it’s probably because no one else does either. In fact, my computer doesn’t even know the name of that town and is telling me to spell-check it. But I spent a good many days there and from that experience I want to give just a few suggestions as to how we as men can start to reclaim our place as… well… men.
1. WORK HARD: All those years when I would visit the ranch, I watched my grandparents work SO HARD. Superdad [that’s what we called my grandfather] would get up every morning around some CRAZY hour like five. The sun wasn’t even THINKING about rising yet but he was there. Without a doubt he is one of my biggest heroes. Often, when me and my cousins would visit, he would even wake up my dad and uncles to come help him. And when Superdad woke you up, what would you say? “No… I see that you are working your butt off and you are WAY older than me… but I’m too tired and I’d like to sleep.” No. You got out of bed and jumped in the truck to feed the cows.
I think their is a general lack of men who can do work anymore. Sure, we don’t mind styling our hair for twenty minutes, or studying the most recent football statistics, but what happened to getting up early because we have a mission to complete? What happened to pushing ourselves towards something bigger? Something that matters. I’m talking to myself here by the way. I may have grown up around the ranch, but that doesn’t mean I’ve got this down. As God told Adam in the garden, we have been tasked with WORK, real, sweat provoking work. So, where are you slacking life? What do you KNOW you should be giving your full effort in but you constantly find yourself going half-steam? Find those things and GET YOUR BUTT IN MOTION!
2. BE KIND: Though I don’t really remember any of them, my family has a large list of jokes that Superdad used to love to share! Any chance he got in fact. And the jokes weren’t targeted towards anyone in particular or crude. They were funny for humors sake, because he loved to make people laugh.
There is a very dangerous trend in today’s culture towards what I like to call “me humor.” It used to be that the simple art of a chicken crossing the road could get an entire room of people smiling. Nowadays though… it’s as if we’ve forgotten how to be nice to each other. I like to tell people that when circumstances happen, we always have TWO options. For instance, let’s say we’re out swing dancing [one of my favorite activities]. Jim asks Susie to dance and although she really has NO idea what she’s doing, she agrees. They hit the dance floor and, as expected with no experience, Susie doesn’t do very well. When the song ends she feels embarrassed and as they walk back to the table, she mentally decides she’s done dancing for the night.
Now, Jim, being a perceptive chap, realizes what happened and when they get to the table he has TWO OPTIONS. Option 1: Jim looks over at Susie and reassures her that she really wasn’t THAT bad and then asks her again later in the evening to dance with him again. Option 2: Jim makes a joke about Susie’s dancing, which gets laughs from the guys around him but leaves Susie with just a TWINGE of emotional damage. After watching people for some time now, I’ve noticed that the average male seems to go for Option 2 in these situations… and I don’t know why. Don’t we all want to be built up? Doesn’t each of us YEARN to have someone care about us enough to say POSITIVE words into our lives? Do we really NEED any more negativity? NO! So, why are we the ones dishing it out so much?! Be kind men! My sister has told me so many times that she knows SO MANY GREAT WOMEN who are just WAITING for a kind guy who is just a LITTLE BIT interesting to enter their lives.
So, be kind!
3. BE SOMEONE WORTH REMEMBERING: I think as men a good portion of our issues come from a DEEP desire to be remembered. We go through life feeling inadequate but not knowing what to do about it. So, instead of finding an answer, we slump into laziness and “me humor” because we quite simply don’t know how to live like we want to.
But what if we lived like someone worth remembering? What if one day you met a girl and instead of joking on her you built that girl up? What if you made it your AIM to love every single person you cam in contact with? Yeah. Sounds strange. But so what?! Personally, when I enter the grave, I want to go out being someone who shook the world in an overwhelmingly positive way! I want the people I’ve encountered to love THEMSELVES more because they knew ME.
So what is a southern gentleman to me? Simple. It’s someone who, through gentleness and hard work, strives to positively impact the world around them. Simple. And why is this so important? Because there are so many people who NEED someone to care about them, and it takes both hard work and love to get through to them. Next week I’m going to write about how women can help us men in this, but for now women, just watch the men around you. Find the ones who are working hard without being pride and link to them. Get away from the negative guys. They really aren’t helping you.