Let the pledges serve as guides to sharpen the conscience of every man, and let the civil gentleman act according to his conscience. With due regard to the principle of gender equality, a gentleman may consider and undertake each pledge item individually in private sincerity regardless of social sanction or approval. For, the best architect of a good conscience is the man who deliberately examines his own soul with the willful intent of the common good irrespective of the exhortations and demands of others.
It is not intended that the pledges be advocated by pompous ceremony or required for acceptance to any organization. However, if so inspired, any men’s organization or fraternity is encouraged to adopt the spirit of selected pledges that may be relevant to its mission. Leaders and educators may also find ways to build programs and lessons based on the intent of these pledges.
Due to the significance of each pledge, only one pledge item should be undertaken in one day. An hour of meditation should be focused on the meaning of the item prior to making a commitment. Thought should be given to possible scenarios where the pledge may be applied and to circumstances where the gentleman may be tempted to violate the pledge. If he has previously behaved in ways that are contrary to a pledge, he should try to understand and evaluate the impact of his behavior on the parties involved.
The gentleman should keep a private record of the date and time each pledge was made. Writing each pledge by hand as it is taken will help to visualize the significance of the act. In so doing, the gentleman is encouraged to personalize each pledge by adding details appropriate to his station in life, marital status and affiliations.
The prescribed pledges should be regarded as only a template upon which to build the personalized pledges each gentleman decides to take. He should add new pledges that he deems are necessary to further support the principals of gender equality and universal human rights. He should pass over any pledge item to which he cannot fully commit. The valor of one pledge made in earnest is not compromised by his hesitation to commit to another pledge.
Weekly and Annual Reviews
The path towards a life of good conscience is often one of the most challenging and courageous missions a man can undertake. For, such an endeavor may constitute the regeneration of his very soul. Deliverance is not an enduring station, but only a turn in an unending maze of temptations and trials visited upon the man of good intentions. A special time should be devoted each week committed to reading over personalized pledges that the gentleman has made. He should also think about problems he has faced with family or intimate relations during the week and related guidance provided by the pledges. On an annual basis, the gentleman should make a spiritual retreat to privately review the pledges he has made and consider the need to re-commit to those items he has found difficult to uphold.
Fortitude and perseverance are virtues he must call upon to continue on his mission. During the annual retreat, he should rewrite his personalized pledges and make any modifications to the wording that will help him focus more clearly on sensitive issues with loved ones and problems that need special attention. He should reconsider any of the pledges that he previously passed over and evaluate the need for any new pledges not herein prescribed as his conscience dictates.
Redemption and Goodwill
If a man needs redemption, let him redeem himself with the encouragement of like-minded brothers and sisters, if such encouragement be needed. For, although many will flourish when girded with the spiritual embrace of their brethren, others will prevail on the path of righteousness with their solitary perseverance, self-study and introspection, and the illumination of their inner vision. If one recognizes that some problems continue to reoccur, he should evaluate the need for professional guidance and support from appropriate organizations, expert counselors or spiritual advisors.
He who has offended others in the past is one who may himself benefit by cleansing his soul and making reparations and sincere efforts to rectify his behavior according to his conscience. If he himself feels pain deep in his heart caused by others, let him search his soul for ways to understand and forgive. This is one step he must take by himself at the time and place of his choice: For, no court, persuasion or punishment can ever force a man to repent or to forgive.
Only one person will know when the soul has taken a turn of forgiveness or repentance. For, true repentance is a private moment, a simple pebble on a path that marks the beginning of a new journey. And each step therefrom is blessed with renewed hope and respect for all good things. The rising sun and the flowers in the fields are ample witnesses who join in quiet celebration of this new day.
His decision will likewise be rewarded by improved relations with others as well as a more civilized social environment for himself and his family. For, civilization is likened to a well of goodwill, which we all draw from and replenish and which is cleansed or polluted by our very deeds. The good waters, the sustenance of our souls, are never purified by punitive measures, revenge, or imposed justice, but only by sincere repentance, self-correction and remediation, and a good dose of forgiveness, as well, among all parties involved. For, a society rich in justice is likely poor in goodwill.
A Kinder Way
This kinder way of cooperation and negotiation, although requiring greater diligence and self-discipline, will more often prevail both at home and outside the home in business and political undertakings. It will also provide a standing of goodwill to leverage against conflicts that unexpectedly arise from time to time.
Let us also be mindful that adding a little romance and humor to the mix will often do more to bolster and enliven a relationship than our principles, platitudes and pledges taken by themselves. The classic example of a hopeless romantic is the mythical character of Don Quixote, by Cervantes, who cherished a common lady of the night, his Dulcinea, whose favor was the quest of his redemption as a noble knight. This story can teach us that romantic love is not earned, but given out of passion and human need. It is human passion that also drives us to love our children, who often do much to torment us, and rarely earn their keep until possibly later in their lives, that is unless we count the joy we gain from seeing them laugh and play and learn the lessons of life. It is also our nature to love many of the simple creatures that we keep as pets, or sometimes the wild animals that we admire from afar. If love is to be earned, by what virtues or performance do we measure in the balance? Two people who can laugh, cry and play together will likely have an enduring and enriched relationship. For, it never hurts to give, unless we are bound by our own expectations.
Through kindness, generosity, cooperation and forgiveness, we may all help to replenish and cleanse the well of goodwill. This contribution is important especially since all of us have soiled the waters at times by offensive behavior, neglect of duties, broken promises, lack of sensitivity and excessive selfishness. We all expect that kindness is deserved, but giving such may sometimes be reserved. A few well-chosen words and a handshake or a hug, may help to heal the wounds over a long-lasting conflict with someone close to you. By earnestly making and abiding by pledges as suggested below, the civil gentleman will usher his will with renewed discipline and vision to avoid offending others and to uplift the social bonds of civilization.
Respect for Women
Respect for Children
Civilization begins with me!
Sexual and Physical Abuse Information
Victims of sexual or physical abuse can experience trauma in a number of ways, either immediately or subsequently in later years. Several websites and concerned organizations provide information about the affects of sexual and physical abuse and ways to detect situations of abuse. Some of these resources also provide guidance on ways to protect against abuse.
Child Sexual Abuse by National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder states that child sexual abuse includes a wide range of sexual behaviors that take place between a child and an older person. These sexual behaviors are intended to erotically arouse the older person, generally without consideration for the reactions or choices of the child and without consideration for the effects of the behavior upon the child. Topics include "Who are the perpetrators of child sexual abuse?", "How does one know if a child has been sexually abused?", "What are some symptoms sexually abused children exhibit?", "What can parents and caretakers do to help keep children safe?", "What should parents and caretakers do if they suspect abuse?" and "What are the possible long-term effects of child sexual abuse?".
Understanding Child Sexual Abuse, Education, Prevention and Recovery by the American Psychological Association includes topics such as What is Child Sexual Abuse?, Who Are the Victims?, Who Are the Perpetrators?, What Are the Effects? Can Children Recover?, Protecting Children? What To Do, Where To Go for Help.
Domestic Violence and Abuse: Types, Signs, Symptoms, Causes, and Effects by
Helpguide includes topics such as What is the definition of domestic abuse
between intimate partners?, What are the types of domestic abuse?, What is
physical abuse of a spouse or intimate partner?, What is emotional abuse or
verbal abuse of a spouse or intimate partner?, What is sexual abuse or sexual
exploitation of a spouse or intimate partner?, What is stalking?, What is
cyberstalking?, How likely is it that stalking will turn into violence?, What is
economic or financial abuse of a spouse or domestic partner?, What is spiritual
abuse of a spouse or intimate partner?, How do I know if I am in an abusive
relationship? What are the signs and symptoms of an abusive relationship?, What
are the causes of domestic abuse or domestic violence?, How does society
perpetuate domestic abuse? and related topics.
Sexual Abuse of Males: Prevalence, Possible Lasting Effects, and Resources by Jim Hopper, Ph.D. presents information to 1) help those looking for Web resources on the sexual abuse of boys and the lasting effects of childhood sexual abuse in the lives of men, 2) inform men who were sexually abused in childhood and want to know what professional researchers and therapists have learned, but who might not otherwise seek information in scholarly journals and books 3) help people understand how researchers come up with statistics on child sexual abuse, because the popular media foster confusion and most people don't read scholarly journals where researchers publish their work.
Elder Abuse: What Is Elder Abuse? Each year hundreds of thousands of
older persons are abused, neglected, and exploited. Many victims are people who
are older, frail, and vulnerable and cannot help themselves and depend on others
to meet their most basic needs. Abusers of older adults are both women and men,
and may be family members, friends, or “trusted others.” Administration on
Domestic violence in the GLBT (Gay and Lesbian) community: The rates of domestic violence in same-gender relationships is roughly the same as domestic violence against heterosexual women. As in opposite-gendered couples, the problem is likely underreported. Facing a system which is often oppressive and hostile towards those who identify as anything other than "straight", those involved in same-gender battering frequently report being afraid of revealing their sexual orientation or the nature of their relationship.
The Code of a
Gentleman by Catholicism.org: This code of conduct was extant at the
Virginia Military Institute (VMI), circa 1839–1997. Without a strict
observance of the fundamental Code of Honor [cf., that a gentleman does not lie,
cheat, steal, nor tolerate those who do], no man, no matter how ‘polished’, can
be considered a gentleman. The honor of a gentleman demands the inviolability of
his word, and the incorruptibility of his principles. He is the descendant of
the knight, the crusader; he is the defender of the defenseless and the champion
of justice… or he is not a Gentleman.
Some issues from The Civil Gentleman are discussed on the Discussion on Ethics page.
About This Publication
The authors and publishers of The Civil Gentleman do not represent any organization in this presentation. Any comments about this publication should be directed to info[AT]2givenow.org. New pledges may be added and other changes may be made at the publisher's discretion. All copyrights are reserved. This work is published in the interest of civilization and enduring peace in the world. Additional background information about women's rights, gender equality and world peace may be researched through a collection of books at www.books4peace.2givenow.org.
You can link directly to this page with this URL: www.2givenow.org/civil_gentleman.htm. Feel free to link to this web page from any other web site and to distribute this link in your correspondence. Here is a promotional message you are free to use as well:
Parents may wish to give this inspirational message in pamphlet format to each of their sons at an appropriate age. This precious gift will bolster the spiritual integrity and maturation of your children. Be prepared to discuss any items and questions they may have about relevant topics. When coming of age, children need to learn not only about their biological development but also, and more importantly, about the ethical issues and responsibilities of young adults and teenagers in transition to adulthood. Your role as a parent is critical in teaching important lessons about values and ethics that can best be taught at home.
Volunteers may help to support the cause of gender equality by printing copies of this statement and mailing or personally delivering them to individuals who do not have access to the Internet, such as persons of limited resources, the infirmed, the institutionalized and the incarcerated. Copies should also be distributed to influential leaders, students, educators, and organizations such as those devoted to advocating gender equality and universal human rights. To present this message in a more attractive format, you may purchase the The Civil Gentleman Pamphlet which also makes a great gift for family or friends.
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Thoughts About Giving: It is when you give of yourself that you truly give -- Thomas Fuller