Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Raising A Gentleman

Times have changed, so they say. We are now in the computer age where women seek equality and men are no longer the "Knights in shining armors". But do we really want these?

As a mother of two fast-growing boys, it's a big task I put upon myself to be able to raise well-mannered children (no pressure there). I've read dozens of magazines and books about parenting. I've shared experiences with fellow moms, even with my male counterparts. But I know that no specific parenting rule that applies to everyone. And so with hundreds of stories, tips, suggestions, as well as personal experiences to draw from, my 12 years of parenting is still sort of a trial-and-error process. I am glad though that my boys are in a school which has the same set of values I want my children to have as it wants to imbue to their students.

In a recent Facebook post of the school's principal, Ms Chye, to the Montfort Junior Parent's Connection wall (parent volunteers group), she shared with us this very timely article: "Manners for Boys: "Gentlemen" - An Endangered Species? (

I would like to share the main points of the article as follows: 10 simple steps to raising a new generation of gentlemen:

  1. Gentlemen have respectful attitudes which lead to respectful actions and words. They greet people with a smile, nod or "hello" as they pass people. Their attitude is one of putting others first - based on The Golden Rule... to treat others the way they would like to be treated.
  2. Gentlemen use respectful words: "Please" "Thank You" "You're Welcome" and "Excuse Me." Instead of "What?" and "Huh?" they say "Pardon me?" They say "Yes Ma'am" and "No Sir" respectfully. They never use cursing or cussing words. Gentlemen also have the courage to use difficult words like, "I'm Sorry" "I made a mistake" and "Will You Forgive Me?
  3. Gentlemen open doors for Ladies and allow them to pass through first, saying, "After you!" All children open the door for their elders
  4. Gentlemen walk a Lady to the car and open the car door for her
  5. A Gentleman offers his seat to a Lady. Gentlemen should offer their seat to their elders or pregnant women in crowded buses or waiting rooms. Never be seated until your mother is seated. (I was humbled and thrilled to find out that the distinguished, elderly gentleman who had offered me his seat one day in Seattle for basketball's "Final Four" tournament was the legendary UCLA Basketball Coach, John Wooden!)
  6. A Gentleman helps a Lady put on her coat or sweater. He also offers to help carry heavy packages for a lady. Children offer to carry the bags for their mothers. If the lady drops something, the gentleman will pick it up for her.
  7. Gentlemen stand when a Lady enters the room or when he is introduced to someone
  8. Gentlemen seat a Lady at the dinner table before they seat themselves. They rise when ladies excuse themselves and when they return. The gentleman takes care of the lady to his right.
  9. The Gentleman protects a Lady from danger. He walks on the curb side of the road as a courtesy of protection and to keep the lady from getting splashed by puddles. He also stands behind a lady on an escalator going up; and in front of her going down to protect her from falling. He walks down a dark theatre aisle first and the lady will follow. 
  10. A Gentleman will never EVER hit or hurt a Lady. A boy must never hit or hurt a girl, but rather use his strength to protect a girl.

So there you are. Simple as it may seem we can't really teach our kids just by letting them read this or reading this to them. Children learn through imitation, so fathers STEP UP! What our sons see in us, they will do unto others. Home is where our children learn their basic values. I'm sure it's not that hard to be a gentleman to your wives first, right?!

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