Friday, September 14, 2012

Robert E. Lee's Definition of A Gentleman

The forbearing use of power does not only form a touchstone, but the manner in which an individual enjoys certain advantages over others is a test of a true gentleman.

The power which the strong have over the weak, the employer over the employed, the educated over the unlettered, the experienced over the confiding, even the clever over the silly--the forbearing or inoffensive use of all this power or authority, or a total abstinence from it when the case admits it, will show the gentleman in a plain light

The gentleman does not needlessly and unnecessarily remind an offender of a wrong he may have committed against him. He cannot only forgive, he can forget; and he strives for that nobleness of self and mildness of character which impart sufficient strength to let the past be but the past. A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others.

These words were found in Robert E. Lee's papers following his death.   I memorized them at the age of 19 while pledging Kappa Alpha Order.   Lee's ideals of chivalry and gentlemanly conduct inspired the founders of The Order to name him their "Spiritual Founder".  Lee was given this title posthumously at the 1923 Kappa Alpha Convention. 

The Crest of Kappa Alpha Order

I served as my Chapter's (Zeta Zeta - Wingate University) Number II a/k/a Vice President and Pledge Educator for 2 years.  During my tenure, I tried to instill these words into the minds of the Chapter's future brothers. 

There is no lineal or collateral relationship to trace, however the members of this order are all my brothers. 

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