Teaching a young boy to become a gentleman

April 22, 2016 18:31
Little things tell a lot about one’s upbringing. Start teaching your kids good manners and right conduct while they are still young. Photo: HKEJ

Hin Hin (not his real name) quietly leaves the classroom after seeking permission from the teacher to go to the toilet.

Finding the toilet occupied, he waits patiently for a long time.

But when it is his turn, a small boy dashes into the room with his father, crying that he can no longer wait. His father urges him to fall in line.

But Hin Hin, seeing that the boy seems unable to hold himself, tells him to go first.

What a young gentleman he is!

Gentlemanly behavior is getting rare nowadays. It’s not often we see men opening the car door for their female companion, or offering a helping hand while going downstairs, or being the last guy to leave the room.

Thanks to feminism, modern women are getting the same rights and opportunities as men in many areas, making the men feel that they need not treat women differently.

You might mock me for being old school; however, I think a man should always be polite and show consideration for the feelings of others, especially women.

If I have a son, I will raise him to become a gentleman.

Here are some of the things that I think I should teach him so he will grow up to become a gentleman:

Hold the door for others. Little things tell a lot about one’s upbringing. When I was in boarding school, I was very much impressed by junior girls opening and holding the door for their senior schoolmates. It’s a very polite and honorable gesture.

Let others dig in first. I still remember a most embarrassing occasion in which I was dining with a couple and their 10-year-old son. 

As soon as the plates were served, the boy grabbed his knife and fork, ready to attack.

That's probably understandable because he's just a boy, but what really shocked me was that the parents started heaping their son's plate with the best choices of food.

It was so rude. It should be the older ones who should enjoy the food first. And when the children are old enough, they should learn how to serve the others first.

Carry the bag for the lady. My family is pretty much dominated by females, and my cousin is the only male representative among the young ones.

His mom taught him to take the initiative to carry the bag for the ladies. That does not imply that he thinks women are too weak to carry heavy shopping bags.

It is simply a good expression of respect for older companions, especially ladies.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 21.

Translation by Darlie Yiu

[Chinese version 中文版]

-- Contact us at [email protected]


Founder and Principal at JEMS Learning House