Dear Jack, have you ever read something and a phrase just leaps at you in a powerful embrace? Sometimes it’s because the phrase is planted outside its textual native soil. It leaps desperately into your consciousness. Well, I’m studying the biography of Daniel and this phrase just leapt at me – “Daniel, man of quality.” It’s one of those iconic phrases, like “A man for all seasons”. That’s the title of the equally iconic play by Robert Bolt. The Tudors TV series is actually a dramatisation of the issues in A Man For All Seasons.
But then I began to ask myself who a man of quality is. How should, or how would we describe a man of quality? The fields will probably encompass intellect, civic responsibility, professional and sartorial comportment, familial responsibility, social responsibility, excellence and gentlemanliness. Somehow I can’t shake from my head the picture of a well dressed accomplished man who’s respected in community. But he’s not only respected in society, there is domestic testimonial about him. His wife attests to his quality. At his death the wife will know she truly lost an amazing man – assuming that’s God’s order of departure. He’ll be a worthy role model to his son. His son will want to emulate him, seek to achieve because of him, his values. And his daughter? Oh, she’ll know she has a daddy! She’ll be looking for a worthy man for mating. There’s something wholesome about the phrase, “Man of Quality.” He’s truly an exceptional man. I think it’s worth aspiring to – to seek to become a Man of Quality (MQ).
If you want to aspire to that repute, there are things you need to pay attention to. Let’s start with the easiest – grooming. Pay attention to your looks no matter the size of your budget. Wear your suit impeccably, your shoes shined, your shirt neat, your tie tastefully knotted. Just a little bit of attention is all that’s required. Even if you wear casuals pay attention. It’s a mind set. And your car? It’s your physical dimension. You shouldn’t be driving a dirty car. Does not depict excellence.
A man of quality has character. Has integrity. His word is respected. You can do contract with him on a handshake. You can’t be a man of quality without character. Your “quality” will be an odoriferous gaseous simulacrum.
Then there’s the issue of how he treats women – wife, girlfriend… He respects his woman, treats her well, takes care of her. She respects him, looks up to him – for advice, for leadership. She trusts him, absolutely! Trusts his judgment. She loves the fact that he’s out there striving, trying to make his way in this world, trying to take care of his family.
He’s a respected member of his community, at whatever level. Age is no barrier. He’s respected at work, respected at the club, respected in church, respected at home. People value his contribution, his participation. He talks sense! His reasoning is sound. He’s civic minded. Does his civic responsibilities. Contributes his quota to his nation. He’s not an ostrich.
He’s constantly conscious of the fact that God has been kind to him. So he’s kindly disposed to the poor. He helps others, gives opportunities to others. Contributes to the upliftment of others.
He’s disciplined too. Has discipline of mind and spirit. He disciplines himself for accomplishment. Avoids distractions. People have expectations of him and his character. He understands those expectations.
He’s ambitious. Yet he lives within his means. Doesn’t have a need to impress. He’s accomplished. He has a sense of mission in life. Is conscious of his legacy, especially to those coming behind. He wants his life to amount to something, wants his children to be proud of him, to have a good name.
A man of quality is spiritual. He seeks God, fears God. Gives God His pride of place. Humbles himself before God.
These are what I could glean from the life and character of Daniel – the kind of man he is. We don’t have complete information on him – his wife, his children; but you can tell the kind of man he is. And so the portrait of a man of quality is a God fearing, civic minded, responsible man who’s respected in society. He’s intelligent, he’s a role model, a trusted and wise individual. He’s a man of integrity, of benevolent disposition. He’s fixated on excellence. Everything about him audibilizes quality. He’s trusted by his woman. His girlfriend trusts him. His wife trusts him for his character.
May you be a man of quality.
What will it take? You need clarity. You must be clear as to what you want to become. You must also be clear as to what you DON’T want to become. Develop your statement of clarity. “I want to be a well respected member of my community, a regarded leader, a man of reckoning”, is a statement of clarity. Develop your statement of clarity. Being a man of quality takes conscious effort, and study.
Of course you must be mindful of the friends you keep. Friends matter. A friend is your reflection. An achiever does not felicitate in the fellowship of the slothful, indolent and directionless. Being an achiever is a mindset – a disciplined mind set with laser focus and clarity. If you want your wife or girlfriend to respect you, focus on achievement. It’s hard to respect a guy with no ambition. A disadvantaged man with vision and discipline will invariably overtake the privileged indolent lacking in both. If you don’t set yourself up for the future, you’re not going to arrive there.
What do you want to become? By this letter I’m compelling a think. So your life is not frittered away. You don’t have as much time as you think. When you know who you want to become you’ll know who you should date or not date. The future is invariably how we conceive of it. Don’t just be a man, be a man of quality.
Your mentor, LA
© Leke Alder 2014