Parents and teachers have one of the largest responsibilities: raising and teaching children so that they become respectable adults. With boys it is especially important for them to grow into gentlemen who are reflective, generous, and passionate.
The modern man is expected to be more than just a bread winner. In today’s society he expected to be emotionally intelligent as well as a hard worker. Teenage boys can be taught emotional intelligence through reflective activities at home, school, and extra curricular activities. Emotional intelligence includes skills like deep listening and empathy. Listening to others well and learning to empathize will help young men build rapport with others in school, work, and personal relationships.
Another important aspect of being a gentleman in today’s world is philanthropic work. As mentioned before, empathy is a vital skill for the modern man. Empathy in action results in philanthropic activity. Starting in childhood there are volunteer activities for the budding gentleman. As boys learn to share their time with those less fortunate, they will later learn to share their resources as well. Young boys can volunteer at animal shelters, community gardens, and food banks. As they grow they will further expand their ability to empathize with those less fortunate.
Finally, learning to be filled with passion will differentiate the average young man from a truly successful gentleman. Teenage boys have plenty of energy, but it is important for this energy to be directed correctly. Young men with emotional intelligence and experience in philanthropic activities will likely see the importance of directing their energy toward worthy causes, improving the world and themselves. While many teens struggle to find their passion, a few moments of reflection on the following questions can help them to recognize their own skills and natural abilities.
- When do you feel most alive? What activities or people help you feel alive?
- How do you gain energy? Do you prefer to relax with people or alone?
- Are there any activities that are particularly draining for you?
- What topics or activities make you the most curious about the world?
These questions require a large amount of self-awareness and willingness to reflect, but if a young man is willing to wrestle with the answers, he will surely recognize where his passions lie.
Finally, young men learn best from other gentlemen. Without a role model to demonstrate emotional intelligence, philanthropy, and passion, a teenage boy cannot develop in these areas. Fathers, brothers, teachers, mentors, and spiritual leaders can all offer examples of how to be gentlemen, but these men must also be committed to their own further development as an upstanding modern man. The journey from young man to gentleman is not an overnight transformation, but a lifelong process that requires dedication and support.