The 4 Characteristics Of A Gentleman That This Dad Is Teaching His Sons

A simple project that will build better children for the future.

Kirk Chugg is an entrepreneur who started Haberdasher Custom Clothing: a bespoke menswear company that specializes in helping men look their best for business and formal occasions.


He's also a father to four children.

As a men's clothier, Kirk Chugg is more than familiar with the word "gentleman." After all, it's a word whose social connotations are often inextricably linked to a certain standard of dress accompanied by a certain mode of behavior; a word that is largely taken for granted these days save as a formality.  

But when his 5-year-old son Bennett asked him, "Dad, what's a gentleman?" Chugg began to think more deeply about the values and characteristics enshrined in the ideal. He began to more deeply consider the kind of children that he wanted to raise and the kind of father he was striving to be in an era full of distractions where people often eschew etiquette for efficiency.

That's when he decided to start "The Gentlemen Project."

Originally developed as a way to spend quality time with his children while instilling the values and character traits that he and his wife, Carin, hoped they would embrace, the elder Chugg created a leather-bound journal that, as a recent article about The Gentlemen Project in Forbes states, would serve to "create a legacy book together of character-building lessons, goals, ideas and dreams" in their family.

One night, his oldest son asked him, “Dad, why can’t everybody do The Gentlemen Project?”

Chugg joined forces with friend and CEO Isaac Child to begin producing hundreds of embossed leather-bound journals bearing the legend "Things I Learned From My Dad." He built a website around a goal to "provide opportunity and educational support for parents and children seeking deeper personal connections through the creation of authentic and meaningful habits" and the company's mission "to strengthen families and society by preserving and teaching the art of being a gentleman."

We asked Mr. Chugg what he felt were the characteristics of a gentleman. Here's what he told us.

1. Looking outside yourself.

"I call this "service above self" when I talk to my kids about it. (Which is also the mantra of Rotary International).

When we lose ourselves in the service of others we find a much richer life for ourselves.

When we focus on serving others this incorporates most aspects of chivalry and friendship and being a good citizen in our communities in the traditional sense."

2. Appreciation.

"When was the last time you got a thank you card in the mail? When was the last time someone went out of their way to tell you how much they appreciated an extra effort you went to? This is not dead but it is definitely not practiced as much as I believe it should be.

We can always be more appreciative to those around us.

Showing appreciation is an act of graciousness and humility. We need more of both."

3. Passion.

"Passion for your work, passion for your family, passion for your community and passion for your hobbies.

When one lives a life of passion it becomes a life lived on purpose.

A life lived on purpose will be one full of personal responsibility, confidence in the ability to affect change for the better in the world and more like the life we will want to reflect on when we are old. "

4. Communication.

"One of my biggest fears is that my children will be raised with the idea that speaking to someone on the phone, texting their friends, (or whatever the equivalent of that is when they become adults) equates to speaking to someone in person, looking them in the eye, shaking their hand and being present when you were with them. Unless we as parents and mentors of youth act as better examples, we will lose the next generation's ability to have these valuable interpersonal skills.

The use of technology will never go away (nor do I want it to) but we have to learn to balance the use of technology and basic manners.

I don't think anyone could argue with the idea of putting your phone down at the dinner table and leaving it in your pocket in a restaurant. We still need to communicate and be present even with such amazing and convenient technology. Looking someone in the eye when being spoken to is just the right thing to do. "

"My own personal opinion is that these are not specific characteristics of gentlemen alone. These are characteristics that I teach my daughters as well."

"My vision for The Gentlemen Project," Chugg says, 

"is to be able to inspire parents and especially fathers to take a more focused and deliberate approach to being involved part of their children's lives. Each one of those parents that we touch as an organization is the number one most qualified individual to know what their child needs and when they need it. We hope to flip that switch inside that helps them realize they are THAT parent-and then to motivate themselves to talk on a regular basis with their own children about these characteristics and others they deem appropriate.

It's an admirable vision.

To find out more about The Gentlemen Project, please check out their website, Facebook page and Twitter account. Let them know that A Plus sent you.

(H/T: Forbes) 

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