Nurture Something

On Being a Modern Gentleman: 

Guideline 14: Nurture Something

The modern gentleman, like the Victorian gentleman, Confucian Jūnzǐ, or Medieval gentilhomme, is a person of good standing, impeccable behavior, and strong discipline; however, the modern gentleman, unlike his or her forebears, is a person who also cultivates emotional depth, compassion, and, in a variety of forms, love.

I can’t teach you to be compassionate, nor can I teach you to love. These things are unique and come from within you, not from books or from a blog (no matter how cool and witty the author, unfortunately). That being said, I can teach you how to start. Nurture something.

Cultivate that emotional depth and compassion by taking care of something. Get a pet that you love and adore. Buy a houseplant and do everything you can to make it flourish. Lovingly tend to an antique book or furniture piece. Treat your house as though it’s your spouse. Nurture something. This goes behind doing your duty as a pet-owner or housekeeper: to nurture means to protect and encourage something or someone to grow, to thrive,  and to to be successful. Those of you who have children already do this, or, at least, I hope you do. If you don’t have children, treat something like it is your child. (For the hyper-masculine readers, it’s very easy to do this: nurture your vehicle.)

Like so many of the guidelines for being a gentleman, nurturing something is deeply tied to the gentleman triumvirate: empathy, chivalry, and amiability. These values or ideas are symbiotic. Mastering one invariably leads to another. So, nurture something. It’ll be good for you.

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