Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected.
If you have been reading my posts for a while, you will have noticed how I emphasis the idea that you have to better yourself for yourself. I don’t believe in the idea that you become a better person to impress others, that you can’t be a gentleman if your intention is to be liked or respected, but rather you might be liked or respected because you are a gentleman. With that said, there is one important bonus to carrying yourself as a noble man, and that is your ability to inspire others, specially boys and young men, to strive to be more. You become the example that others need.
We live in a society that offers young men few proper role models. Between boys being raised in families with little interaction with their fathers, a mass media that promotes self-centered narcissism and entitlement, and a social media that reduces young men into the social problem they can become, becoming the exception to the norm is an act of social obligation all good men must strive for. We need to prove to these future men that not all men are the same. We need to prove that they aren’t predestined to become the absentee father figure, the irresponsible man-child, nor the potential criminal.
You might think that not being a father is enough excuse to ignore this aspect of being a Gentleman. You can’t, not if you want to honor what it means to be a true Gentleman. These boys are starved for proper examples, for someone who believes they can be more. You see it as they gravitate towards that Teacher who believes they can excel, to the Sensei who teaches them and confidence, to the Coach who teaches them to push their limitations, to the Mentor who gives them guidance, or simply the random Gentleman who treats them with respect when nobody else will.
Yes, you become better for yourself. But you can only be a better man when you pass on those lessons to others. Isn’t that what being a better man is about? Selflessly living for others, raising others beyond what they could be on their own?
So walk proudly and properly. Carry yourself with dignity while treating everyone with respect. Become a beacon of virtue as you never know who’s looking up to you at that very moment. You might be the example someone needs to become more.