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The Standard #13

African American Youth Men are not born with what one would identify as a “gentleman” gene in their DNA. Sure, some men naturally gravitate towards chivalrous, courteous behavior – but more often than not, such behavior is learned and embedded during various stages of male maturation. Conversely, some adolescents mature without said chivalrous attributes ever being instilled in their life. And that is an unfortunate reality; a reality that is shared by far too many young men growing up today. That must change. Now, as a child I would accompany my grandmother to the market for an afternoon of grocery shopping. My grandmother did not know how to drive, so we would walk to the market and I would help her carry grocery bags home. My brothers and I would actually request to tag along for such shopping excursions.

And now as an adult, I find myself helping elderly women in the market with their groceries, or helping them load bags into their car. Old habits die hard. Unbeknownst to me, the seeds of a future gentleman were being planted when I was but a youth. Furthermore, that benevolent mindset extends to other aspects in my life as well. Whether freeing a woman’s car from a snowbank or carrying a pregnant woman’s work bags to her car, I am driven by gentlemanly instinct. That is an instinct that must be imparted in young men today. It can be taught as an uncle, a mentor, a friend, or simply as a father. Chivalry. Valor. Courtesy. Politeness. Helpfulness. These are commodities that appear to be in scarce supply nowadays. If you are an owner of any or all, your wisdom is in high demand. Go ahead, there is a young man that needs you today.

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