Four Tips to Raising Young Gentlemen

Kimberly Graham, Parent of a Prep School Alumnus
In The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, the definition of a gentleman is: “A man who is polite and well-educated, who has excellent manners and always behaves well.” A gentleman should be a well-rounded citizen who is outstanding in his physical, moral, and social aspects.
In a culture where self-absorption and self-gratification are prevalent, it is even more critical to raise young gentlemen. Manners and good behavior must be taught during the formative years of childhood and early adulthood through an accumulation of small actions which, over time, will reap lifelong benefits.
Influencers of young men include parents and guardians, followed by teachers and peers, so it is important that both parents and schools are equipped to nurture and train young men to become gentlemen. It all starts, of course, with the classic Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Continually share the following tips with your son so you can help him become the finest young man he can be. Then, be sure to choose the right prep school to support you in that initiative.

1. Be Aware.
A sign of good manners is being aware of your surroundings, how other people feel, and how your behavior affects others. Is this a time when you should speak, or is this a time when you should listen? Be attentive and make eye contact, asking questions that demonstrate your interest in the conversation shows the other person they are valued. A good conversationalist listens more than he talks.

2. Be Courteous.
Being courteous means to acknowledge those around you, respecting their needs, and offering help when needed. Rather than focusing on an electronic device in the presence of others, be available to become a part of the discussion. Instead of rushing to the front of the line, allow someone to go before you.

3. Be Refined.
A gentleman doesn’t draw attention to himself by his actions or clothing. Clothing is intended to fit into what is appropriate for the occasion, so one must learn to dress for the occasion. Vulgarity is never appropriate. Be open to expand your horizon by learning and trying new things – food, culture, the arts, less popular sports – whatever it may be, consider it for yourself even if it’s unpopular to your friends.

4. Be Respected.
Respect is earned, but to earn respect, you must show respect to others. Arriving on time, standing erect, making eye contact, and having positive, informed opinions makes a statement about your confidence and poise. Others will respect you if you have good manners and are aware of others. Having respect for yourself also means abstaining from substance abuse which can lead to impaired judgment and irresponsible conduct.

A good preparatory academy will only add to your efforts. Riverside has helped to prepare young men for success in college and beyond since 1907, and we follow these lessons taken from the book, Manners for the Riverside Man - A Guide to Gentlemanly Behavior to help guide boys towards becoming fine young gentlemen. Let us know if you would like a copy. Simply send your name, email, and address to:
Riverside Preparatory Academy
2001 Riverside Drive
Gainesville, GA 30501