The Forgotten Gent – Rule #2

TFG Rule #2: Always teach the young man

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It’s our responsibility as men to teach boys, young men and even men our own age, the unwritten rules of being men.  There are also those instances where we have to teach our predecessors in order to convey to them that we know some things too, and to establish our manhood in front of them.

How many of us grew up without fathers, or a strong male influence in our lives?  How many of us were left to figure out what it is to be a man through trial and (mostly) error?  When we grow up, we find ourselves becoming increasingly dissatisfied, or even irritated by what we see in our proteges, successors, the young bucks, or whatever you like to call them.  Some of these guys can’t change a tire or even turn a screwdriver.

TFG required reading

Perhaps the state of affairs among men seems like a runaway train, or perhaps a foregone conclusion.  But, for those of us who have taken note of what we believe to be detrimental as men, there’s a very simple solution.  Teach.

Teaching is a very powerful action.  It’s often the kryptonite to ignorance.  Why are we displeased with what we see from other men?  It’s because many simply don’t know any better.  Ignorance causes them to overcompensate for their deficiencies.  Ofttimes it’s also a mask for insecurity.

Think about it, how many times have you signaled to another gent, obvious or inconspicuous, that his behavior is unbecoming?  If you were successfully able to get his attention, did he demonstrate a receptiveness to whatever you were willing to impart to correct his action?  If you can answer yes to at least one such instance then you have effectively utilized the power of teaching.

The Code Of Men

A blatant violation of The Code Of Men

Part of teaching also protects what TFG refers to as ‘The Code Of Men’.  This code has existed before there were rules and laws.  It’s a part of our DNA.  Regrettably, the code is becoming mutated, and you have some men willfully violating these codes, and revealing them to the opposite sex without any regard for the implications.  This may hint at being sexist, but it is called a code for a reason.  Breaking these codes erodes who we are as men.

Some of you are probably asking, ‘What are these codes?’ If you’re a man asking such a question, then it is a serious issue that needs to be addressed immediately.  I’ll give you some general context around which these codes are based.

  • Behavior

An example would be how a man behaves towards a woman when she is in the company of another man, e.g. dating / marriage  It’s probably the most serious violation of all, and carries the greatest consequences.

Jealousy is another example.  There is no place for jealousy among men.  We respect the reward another man has reaped through his efforts or fortune.  We accept that our individual reward will properly manifest itself through our own concerted efforts and fortune.

  • Loyalty, respect and trust

We do not break our bonds with our brothers or friends for the frivolous, material, or for immediate / superficial gratification.

  • Communication

What we discuss amongst ourselves is sacred.  Revealing these details to outsiders is a highly risky proposition.  Never reveal any more than is necessary, and never reveal in great detail.

  • Principle

There is a verse in a song from Mr. Hudson’s song ‘Anyone But Him,” that goes “With schoolboy fists we can take this outside, but knowing my luck that boy will win.”

I like that line because in situations where we are either outmanned or outgunned, we recognize that there are principles to most everything.  Even in circumstances where it is wise to retreat, it is important to test the limits of any situation driven by our principles. No man can comfortably say that he was defeated by a situation without considering whether his principles should dictate his actions.

  • Honor – Always do the honorable thing.

Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.– Sophocles

Nobody can acquire honor by doing what is wrong– Thomas Jefferson

Mine honor is my life; both grow in one; Take honor from me, and my life is done.– William Shakespeare

The most tragic thing in the world is a man of genius who is not a man of honor– George Bernard Shaw

Boys

Boys are where I see a particular problem.  Too many young boys are coddled over the most minor incidents. Boys are built to scrape their knees, bump their heads and get knocked over.  It’s sustaining these bump that teach us to assess different situations and how to respond.  In such instances, we ask ourselves, “How did I get here?  How badly am I hurt?  Am I able to carry forward?”  Born out of these lessons are perseverance, tenacity, toughness, awareness, resilience, and control over our emotions.

Women, if your little boy experiences a bump, pause for a few seconds after it happens and see how he reacts.  More often than not, he is going to pick himself up and put himself on timeout.  Sure, treat the bump.  Before you know it, he’ll be back in action.

Response

When we have the ability to teach, there is an indescribable satisfaction.  It is born from that sense of duty we have to teach a boy or a young man.  You have an opportunity to watch the young gent evolve almost immediately from your instruction.  How he responds to you reflects an unspoken gratitude.  He has a better understanding of himself and clearer direction of his path.  He is also bearing your legacy in part, as someday he too will be placed in a position where he needs to teach, perpetuating that legacy.

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