Every man is going to be something. Be a Southern gentleman.
From the inestimable Stephen McGehee, who notes:
“Being a Southern gentleman is a state of being. It is not something that is put on to impress others and then taken off. It is a lifestyle based on the ancient code of chivalry. It is a mindset of putting others first and having a truly humble spirit. It is a respect for others – and for oneself. It is respecting the dignity of all men, no matter what their station in life may be. It is a deep and abiding reverence and respect for women, coupled with the manners and etiquette that outwardly demonstrate that reverence. It is the understanding that we are not self-made men, but we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. It is a reverence for the God who created us, and who is the source of all of our many blessings.”
While cautioning us to understand that “no one possess all of these traits. Most of us are fortunate if we can successfully cultivate even a few of them,” he reminds us that
“What sets a man apart as a Southern gentleman is that he understands the goals, knows that they are important, and strives with every fiber of his being to be a Southern gentleman. When he fails, he is determined to do better next time and never makes excuses.
“Being a Southern gentleman is a journey. It is not a destination.”
Indeed it is, and a journey worth embarking upon, regardless of where one is geographically located. As another Southern friend of mine has remarked, these days not all Yankees (properly damnedyankees) are in the North, nor are all Southerners in the South. Yet as Mr. McGehee further points out, in a comment to another post,
“Southern culture – and the Southern hospitality that is so much a part of it – is still alive and well in much of The South; especially in the more rural parts. Much of this came from the culture of the English Cavaliers who came to The South during the English civil war and brought with them their respect for good manners and gracious hospitality.“
Reassuring indeed that so much of it still survives! It is not so in all areas of this once-great land of ours. Yet cultural influences, for good or ill, can long linger. See David Hackett Fischer, Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America, to learn more about how the points of origin of the original settlers of the British North American colonies, that later became the original United States, continues to affect the character and ethos of the regions they settled, many centuries later.
I am eagerly looking forward to Mr. McGehee’s “Part 2.” God save The South!