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There was an incident in my life that made we wonder how a gentleman comes to be – (…..pausing for thought as I remember which situation this was…darn my bad memory! Ah yes…) when I watched the movie based on Steve Harvey’s book.  I was discussing this with my guy. No, he’s not that type of ‘my guy’ though he’s a very awesome friend. You see when people ask me if I know anyone who can get them a specific thing I immediately tell them “I know a guy…”.

The discussion we were having after I finished this movie he’d hooked me up with (yes, he also happens to be my movie guy) was on the lack of genuine gentlemen in Kenya. Why do I say genuine? Every guy out there trying to hit on a chic will treat her with extra special care and yes, will act like a complete gentleman. But that’s an act that will eventually stop. The way a man treats a woman he wants nothing from defines whether he is a genuine gentleman or not. After all the saying does go that you can tell a lot about a man’s character from how he treats those below him. (‘man’ being used in a very gender neutral sense there and not to say women are below men).

What happens when you’re just friends with this female? Will you still open the door for her when exiting a building? Still carry her slightly heavier than usual laptop bag when you happen to be walking together? Still treat her with respect?…Will you protect her from the big bad wolf?

Searching through the guys I know well the shocking fact I came to realize was that I can count the number of male friends I can call genuine gentlemen on two……

fingers! Not hands. That’s how rare they are. In statistical terms  I’m sure the percentages would not bode well for Kenyan men. Not to say Kenyan men are jerks but honestly, what ARE Kenyan men??? And who teaches them to become men?

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”  Prov 22:6

Today I’d gone for a family meet up. Long overdue and quite refreshing it was. Family rocks. My sister was telling us the way her soon to be 2 year old daughter literally mirrors every single thing she does. She’ll watch her get ready for work in the morning, snap up what she sees her mom do and then – if ever she’s lucky enough to get a hold of her mother’s make up, perfume or lotion – proceed to do everything exactly as she’d seen it being done. She’s learning how to be a lady and she’s only 2! I don’t do half the stuff she does and I’m….my age! What happens with the boys?? If girls are busy learning how to take care of a household and themselves what are the boys being taught? Imagine if a boy mimicked all he saw his father do, from changing the car tire to fixing things around the house, to treating women with gentleness and consideration (that includes his sisters). Wouldn’t we have more gentlemen with us?  I don’t think fathers know how big their role is: they need to ensure their daughter knows she is amazing and they need to teach their sons how to be strong yet soft. What?! Yet soo many take it lightly. Is that the reason we don’t have genuine gentlemen amongst us??  Their fathers weren’t gentleman either hence there was no one to mimic?

I don’t want to turn this into a Western vs African discussion but I must share that perhaps the fact our fathers weren’t genuine gentlemen is because their fathers before them weren’t either; It wasn’t the traditional way to fuss about all these small oddities. Each gender understood their role and lived in harmony. But now that the traditional is lost what happens? There are no lions to kill, predators to keep at bay, wars to fight. Traditional divisions on each gender’s role no longer exist. How should men still show that they are the one’s to care for the woman’s needs?

After all this there is still the plight of the fatherless son? There are many fatherless men walking our streets.

–          The ones whose fathers died young and haven’t had a male role model in their lives.

–          The ones who have drunkards for fathers-fathers who would not be able to tell their sons from their daughters most of the time,

–          or just fathers who wouldn’t be bothered with their children because that’s their  wives’ jobs?

Who do they learn how to be a man from?

I do think the male child has been forgotten. Not with concern to academic education or their human rights.

With regard to their calling.

Their purpose.

If you’re a man and you’ve read this I believe you’ll do it; you’ll make sure your son is not fatherless.