Afternoon gents, it’s Max from The Young Gentleman’s Guide here! First off, I want to sincerely apologize for being absent for so long. Finishing up school at SF State was absolutely brutal, but now that I’ve graduated, I should have much more time to put up more articles for you all to enjoy! In any case, a few weeks ago, I was listening to a podcast called Deconstructing the Culture with Elisa Steele. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re interested in political and social commentary from a conservative and Biblical perspective. In her thirty-eighth episode, entitled “Real Men”, Mrs. Steele looks over and debunks a ludicrous list of fifteen things to teach young boys, and for the most part, I have to agree with what she has to say. After going through that list, Mrs. Steele encourages her listeners to send her an email with their own list of what to teach young men, so I decided to do just that. I emailed her fifteen rules for gentlemen to teach their sons, and in this article, I’m going to explain each rule one-by-one. Bear in mind that this article is going to be a bit longer than most of my other articles, but I can almost guarantee you that these will go a long way. So before this article turns into a full-length novel, let’s get started!
1. Step up and be a leader when no one else will
This one really should go without saying. Men by nature should be more eager to take on leadership roles, and there may be those times where someone needs to take charge. Not only does taking on leadership positions allow men to grow in their confidence, but it also allows men to learn more about themselves, which will further prepare them to take on more leadership positions or even be fathers later on down the road.
2. There’s a difference between being a leader and being a dictator
As an extension to rule number 1, this is a very small, yet extremely important distinction to make. While both leaders and dictators will likely be giving orders, a true leader will be out with there those he is commanding, assisting them or even protecting them so they can complete the task at hand. While a dictator will also give orders, he will simply watch over those he is commanding and most of the time, not even be out there to assist them.
3. Be assertive, but don’t be the bad guy
This is yet another extension to the first two rules. A true leader will enforce the rules and commands he gives; if not, he wouldn’t even be doing his job properly. But there is a way to enforce said rules without coming across as the bad guy. The best leader will enforce the rules while making it clear that he is not at all above them. If a leader thinks himself to be above the rules, that’s essentially the first step to a dictatorship.
4. It’s not always shameful to back down from a fight
A lot of times, men are encouraged to engage in fights, whether verbal or physical, as a way to prove their manliness, so to speak. However, there are, more often than not, certain times where engaging in a fight simply isn’t worth it. Whether it’s because there’s no changing the mind of the opposition or simply because there’s no chance of winning, some fights are just not worth getting into, and thus there’s no shame in backing down from them. Of course, figuring out which fights may or may not be worth getting into is all up to every man’s instincts; I can’t be the arbiter of which fights are worth getting into.
5. Never be afraid to ask questions
Most men by default like to feel like they’re in charge and that they don’t need help. Of course, there will simply be those times where a man can’t figure something out, and will need to ask a question or ask for help. This is often an area of shame for many men, myself included, but it really shouldn’t be. Asking questions and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it should be treated as a sign of humility and being willing to learn.
6. Always ask how you can help
Whenever working on a group project in any capacity, there will almost always be a way to help. However, a man should rarely, if ever, wait for a task to be handed or appointed to them. A man should always be on hand to help, and as such, should always ask how they can help with the task at hand.
7. Stand up for yourself and what you believe in, even in the face of being mocked or dismissed
In today’s political and social climate, this seems more relevant than ever. No matter where he stands on the political spectrum, a man will have opponents. And when a man has opinions, he should be prepared to have them challenged at any point. Thus, he should stand up for what he believes in, and not back down if backed into a corner. This doesn’t mean he should be a “yes man” at any point, but we’ll get to that later.
8. More importantly, stand up for those who are important to you
Though there may be some who try to deny it, every man has at least one person who is important to him. It can be a family member, a friend, or a significant other. If such people are important to a man, that man should stand up for them as well as himself in the case of violence, ridicule, and exploitation. Men by nature are protectors, and not being able to stand up for those who are important to them are simply betraying themselves along with those people.
9. Being a champion bodybuilder doesn’t make you a great man
Don’t misunderstand me. Being physically fit is essential to any man’s health, and being able to lift heavy loads can certainly be an important part of his arsenal. However, a man being able to bench press twice his body weight just to say that he can is in no way correlated to his character. Moreover, it doesn’t really serve any purpose unless he plans to use his strength as a way to help people. As much a man should value his health and physical fitness, a man should be equally focused on good character as well as physical prowess.
10. There’s never a right time to get married
This one applies later in life to those who are getting ready to tie the knot. There is, of course, no shame in a man waiting for the right person or waiting until being more financially stable, but the fact of the matter is that there will always be risks going in. The best a man can do is make the best-informed decision at the time. But even as well-informed as that decision may be, the risk will always be there, and there will never be that “perfect time” to get married.
11. Blind faith and loyalty will get you nowhere
This is essentially a follow-up to rule number 7. While it is of course important to have things you believe in and people to look up to, it should never spiral down to the point of blind faith and loyalty. A man should always hold his beliefs and those he looks up to to some amount of scrutiny. As much as a man can look up to a certain political figure, it’s important to remember that they are still human. They make mistakes, especially in things that they say, and they should be called on it. And as far as beliefs go, especially religious, it’s perfectly reasonable for a man to have doubts and questions about them. It’s another sign of humility and willingness to learn. Without that scrutiny and ability to question his own beliefs as well as the beliefs of those he looks up to, a man will simply turn into the stereotype of the “yes man” who can’t think for himself or formulate his own opinions.
12. There’s no shame in loss or failure
There’s simply no way around this. Losing and failing are simply inevitable in life. And while things like losing that soccer game, not getting that certain job, or getting passed up for that promotion can certainly hurt, there’s no shame in that as long as an honest effort was put in. In fact, loss and failure is, more often than not, necessary. It can certainly hurt to lose, but a man should use the pain of his loss as the first step of improvement. If a man loses a soccer game, that should be a sign to put more work into his practices and drills. If a man gets passed up for a job promotion, he should use that lost opportunity as a stepping stone to improve his work ethic and figure out what he’s doing wrong. In the words of hall of fame soccer player Cobi Jones, “The road to victory… is paved with losses.”
13. Your virginity and your loss of it should never define you
It seems like a stereotype at this point that high school boys are practically in competition to see who can either get laid first, or get laid the most. And of course, the guy who hasn’t been able to do the horizontal mambo, either because he doesn’t want to, or just has trouble with the opposite sex, is mocked and ridiculed by his peers. This sets a dangerous precedent for young men. It teaches them that being a virgin is something that he should be ashamed of. However, being a virgin, at least by choice, is nothing to be ashamed of, and certainly not what a man should stake his reputation on. It shows that he has enough respect for himself and his body to save such a hard decision for the best time, most likely when he’s in a committed relationship or (preferably) married.
14. Do what’s right, not what feels good, as hard of a decision as it may be
It’s no secret that when given the choice, people will often go with what makes them feel good, even if it might not be the overall best choice in the long run. It might feel good to have that leftover piece of cake instead of an apple for breakfast, but it will most likely not be the best for a man’s health in the long run. A man may find it more satisfying to leave work just a minute or two early and put off whatever he was working on until the next day, even though he can easily finish it that day and just spare a few minutes into overtime to finish it. With that kind of attitude, it can lead him to do mediocre work or just the bare minimum for his job requirement, instead of putting that extra initiative in that could possibly get him that promotion. Of course, there may be those times where the right decision and the decision that feels good may overlap, but those situations are very few and far between. Most of the time, a man may have to sacrifice what feels good for doing something right.
15. The two words that will take you farther in life than anything else: “Thank you.”
As I’ve said in the past, I believe that gratitude is the greatest quality for a man to have, and I still wholeheartedly stand by that. A man who is grateful for the things he’s been given or has earned, as few as they may be, will be a far happier and more productive person. A man who is grateful to his employer will do everything he can to keep his job. A man who is grateful to his family and friends will undoubtedly create a deeper loving connection with them. A grateful man will be satisfied in what he has earned or has been given, and work even harder to achieve more of it, as opposed to an ungrateful man who believes he’s entitled to certain things for no extra work or effort because he’s unsatisfied with what he has. Essentially, a man should follow this mantra: gratitude leads to satisfaction, satisfaction leads to happiness. Ingratitude leads to entitlement, entitlement leads to bitterness. “Thank you.” Those two small words will take a man farther in life than he could ever realize.
So there it is! Fifteen rules that very gentleman should teach their sons. Apologies for this article being so long, there’s simply a lot of things that every young gentleman should know. Be sure to comment below any other rules you think might be important, or leave any ideas for any future articles In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading today’s article. Please be sure to share the article, follow the blog, follow The Young Gentleman’s Guide on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and support us on Patreon. And on that note, this is Max from The Young Gentleman’s Guide, and I’ll see you next time!