First Grade. Age 6. I'm not sure if anyone really remembers much about that young time in their lives. Perhaps there are a few glimpses and memories of lunch boxes, Recess or your first grade teacher. Mine? Miss Iverson. She wore bright red lipstick and was very animated. I liked her. I thought she was nice. But I don't remember anything else about her...or the class. I don't remember faces, and I don't remember names, I don't remember lessons or games.
But I will tell you, that I remember one boy. A boy that set the tone for all other boys! A boy that I could never forget...because of one quiet little moment. Ben Adams... that was his name. And here is why I remember him...
I must have just walked into class from somewhere. Maybe it was the start of a new day, Gym class, Recess, or lunchtime. I don't recall. I just know that as I attempted to take my seat, some little smart alec kid (whom I can't for the life me recall...but probably had a name like "Scott FARKUS") decided to pull my chair out from under me! There I went! DOWN! Flat on my butt. I bet the kids around me laughed. I bet the Farkus kid laughed his head off and thought he was stinking hilarious! But I honestly don't remember. All I could see was a beautiful brown haired boy come walking towards me, and offer me his hand. Picture that in slow motion. A six or seven year old boy offering his hand to help me up! Who does that? What little kid even thinks of something like that? But he did. And I loved him for it. I took his hand...and he helped me up. And I have NEVER forgotten it.
Sounds simple, maybe silly. But even at that young age...I recognized what the word "Gentleman" means. For those who might be in question of what that definition is, let me offer the words of my friend, Websters Worldwide Dictionary;
"A Chivalrous, honorable, kind, amiable, well mannered man. Considerate or kindly in disposition, free from harshness, sterness, or violence."
Somehow...at that moment in time, I already knew what that word meant. My heart knew it. And I recognized it for the first time, as a first grader.
I would then spend the next 25 or so years of my life watching, as many friends and boyfriends would come gallaping in and out of my life. Each one being placed, unconsiously, in a category. A boy? a man? or a gentleman?
Call me old fashioned...call me crazy...call me anything you want. But I know the truth. I know the worth of a gentle-man.
How few of them are to be found in this world. Apparently the idea has lost it's luster. It's not cool to be kind, considerate, or thoughtful. But it is very cool to be selfish, indulgent, brash, and crude. A man/boy like that is a dime a dozen. Take your pick! They come in all colors, varieties, ages, and shapes. But really they are all the same. There is NOTHING remarkable about them. Nothing to remember or write in the 'ole journal about! NOT A THING.
But a gentleman? They are worth their weight in Gold. They are written about, cherished, and remembered. Some EVEN revere their names and call them "Blessed". Some people cry when they think of them. I know I do.
The irony is that it's not as hard as one might think. Saying the please and thank yous. Offering a gracious and sincere compliment. The thoughtful note or deed. The opening of a car door or the helping of putting a coat on. The showing of respect for women, children, and all mankind.
It is meekness in it's purest form. It is graciousness in all it's majesty. It is the chivalry of the ancients.
A man who walks this road is noble and he is GREAT! "Who can find a virtuous man ? For his price is above rubies!"