John Corey, 5/12/2008, an essay that resulted in a scholarship award.
A gentleman has ease without familiarity, is respectful without meanness; genteel without affectation, insinuating without seeming art.” (Chesterfield) To this quotation, it would seem, that a gentleman is himself in all aspects, but still easy going, clever, proper, and honest, yet respectful in turn. Chesterfield, by any account, would be considered a gentleman, and I could not contest that which he says is a gentleman if he is a gentleman himself, thereby giving me my definition of what a gentleman is. Yet, even as this definition is true, it is incomplete.
A true gentleman is virtuous in all aspects of the word, a king among kings with no power, save that which influences the heart, mind, and soul. A gentleman should be honest, without, but at the same time without cruelty or malice in that which he says in truth. A gentleman has a of propriety, but does not flaunt his decorum, humbling himself before his own accomplishments and his own failures, telling honestly of what he cannot accomplish himself. He is modest and unswerving in his heart’s path to that which is right, yet has an aura of confidence in all he is and does. A gentleman gives where giving is needed, taking only reluctantly. His sympathy should be etched clearly upon his heart, but he expects of others his or her full potential. A gentleman is as multifaceted as any faceted , yet as clearly seen as any crystalline . That is my definition of a gentleman.
I will state the traits, which I try to exemplify, which I consistently attempt to portray as a man, but I am undeniably guilty of failures of every aspect of the gentlemanly figure. In all that I do, I uphold the qualities I have stated with unbridled passion, yet who is to say that any has ever held them constant? The standard to which I hold myself is the same standard to which I hold everyone, for who would I be to elevate myself to a pillar of greater expectation than all people?
As I said, true gentlemen have influence, for a true gentleman never finds himself without authority. It is with this influence that a gentleman can help others to become gentlemanly themselves. That is the greatest expectation I have for anyone, to act gentlemanly, to be as kind, compassionate, honest, giving, humble, and modest as they may. It is with these traits that I demonstrate; reveal through my influence, and hopefully are mirrored by that influence.
Cruelty is unnatural to me, and I find that it does not come easily, so I would say that I am not malicious in my honesty, and I speak honestly when it is necessary, but I do not wantonly point out faults, and then only do so in private. My propriety is shown through my respect for others and for myself, I do not purposefully insult, nor do I parade my propriety to others. When confronted with my accomplishments, I am appreciative, but try not to be conceited, whereas my punishments and failures serve to humble me, though I do not let them slow my successes. I follow that which I believe is right, and that which is iniquitous I abhor. I do not have much, save a comforting ear and perhaps some advice, and these things I give freely. I have been through troubled times myself and can easily sympathize with others, but I cannot tolerate self-depreciation or sloth. I am not an athlete, nor a scholar, nor am I unskilled in either.
I do not know what beliefs you hold as truths, but there is one that I hold; each one of the qualities of a true gentleman that I portray I do for one reason. I am Christian, and that is first and foremost in everything I do. If I find my definition of a true gentleman to be unchristian, than my definition shall change. You may see easily enough that the definition I have formed is most assuredly what most Christians also believe, for you see, a Christian must always be a gentleman, whereas a gentleman is not always a Christian.
Throughout the years of men being called gentlemen, the definition has changed, however, it has retained many of the same characteristics that have been found in history. A gentleman has always been honest, a gentleman as always been respectful, a gentleman has always been humble, and a gentleman has always been compassionate. Yet, you will find that most of all, a gentleman has been and always will be the embodiment of integrity.