‘Gentleman’ Misused in Liberian Society

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When the word “gentleman” is used, authorities on etiquette and character think from the perspective of a reputable man of integrity and good conduct among his peers.

However, Mrs. Edwina D. Vakun-Lincoln, Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Business Link Incorporated says instead of using the word to reflect a person deserving of that description, the word gentleman is often misused in the Liberian society.

Serving as the keynote speaker for the induction program of the “Esteemed Gentlemen” organization last weekend, Mrs. Vakun-Lincoln said the term gentleman does not fit many men, because of their distasteful behavior in public places and in the home.

“The word is associated with esteemed values and principles that should be possessed by a man deserving to be called a gentleman,” she maintained.

Mrs. Vakun-Lincoln, who began by asking members of the Esteemed Gentlemen Organization to allow their wives to stand and be recognized, told the male organization that many Liberian men instead of taking their wives to dinner, would rather take their concubines.

She observed that most men claiming to be gentlemen are found in bars and night clubs, using resources needed by their families on alcohol, causing them to grumble and inflict pain on their wives and children.

She stressed that an occasion like adinner is meant for a married couple, but many men who want to be called gentlemen do not care to take into account its rationale, but abuse it with unwholesome and irresponsible behavior.

Aptly describing several categories of men, the young, eloquent Liberian lady said there is the man who is still a child and has yet to grow up into his responsibilities.  Another type of man, she explained, uses force and a false sense of masculinity to hide his insecurities while abusing others. But, declared Madam Vakun-Lincoln, the real man takes on his obligations with pride.

As a lady with a family and experience in home matters, Mrs. Vakun-Lincoln said she has interacted with many well-dressed men in public gatherings in Liberia, but their behavior and attitudes cannot prove them to be gentlemen.

For a man to be called a gentleman, he should be known by his actions, accountability and attitudes towards life, said Madam Vakun-Lincoln.

A gentleman is known by his actions and not only his words.  Contrary to this principle, a lot of men called gentlemen in Liberia make overcomplicated explanations, broken promises and hollow apologies, she indicated.

She further noted that a gentleman accounts for his actions since every action he takes affects people and his environment, stressing, “A gentleman does not take an undue advantage of his power or the weakness of those around him, never offends others physically or mentally, and never inflicts pain on any one.”

The Esteemed Gentlemen organization is non-political and is meant to show humanity to its members and the needy. It comprises members who are all believed to be in the working class and married.

Speaking following his induction, its chairman, A. Trokon Tarr said on behalf of the members that they remain committed to serving humanity and setting the legacy for others to emulate.

“We live in communities, and as such, we see problems and needs.  We cannot simply choose to fold our hands and ignore them; for such a stance would only make matters worse until no one or any government agency is strong enough to stop them,” Mr. Tarr said.

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