Founders’ Day Reflections – Derek Taylor

Since I joined Chi Psi there has been one quote that I have always felt described the perfect Chi Psi. The True Gentlemen by John Walter Wayland:

“The True Gentleman is a man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety, and whose self-control is equal to all emergencies; who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity; who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others, rather than his own; and who appears well in any company, a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.”

I have always related very closely with this quote. Ever since I first read it in my Chi Psi Story in 2006, I have felt that John Walter Wayland hit the nail on the head and left nothing to be assumed.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized why I have always felt Wayland’s words were so poignant. I realized that I had been told these things my whole life, only they had been told to me in “southern colloquialisms” as our own Teri Forsythe would say.

I was fortunate enough to be raised by two loving parents and four wonderful grandparents who taught me, if nothing else, to respect others. They raised me to be kind and courteous and to stand for what I believe. I was told that a man is only as good as his word, and “don’t make no promises you can’t keep” (Yes, that is a triple negative. You try and explain that grammatical rule to my Grandaddy). Grandma always said if you don’t have anything nice to say, it’s best not to say anything at all (Unless it’s “bless their little heart”). Never get caught with you pants down, and try not to get too big for your britches.

Sound Familiar??? Let me put it all together for you.

The Southern Translations are in bold

1. The True Gentleman “does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity.” If you don’t have anything nice to say, it’s best not to say anything at all.

2. The True Gentlemen is “himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements.” Don’t get too big for your britches.

3. The True Gentleman’s “deed follows his word.” A man is only as good as his word, and don’t make no promises you can’t keep.

4. The True Gentleman “thinks of the rights and feelings of others, rather than his own.” Be kind and courteous.

5. The True Gentleman “appears well in any company.”Don’t get caught with your pants down.

6. The True Gentleman is a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.” Stand firmly for what you believe.

I joined Chi Psi in 2006. Before I pledged, I told the man who recruited me into Chi Psi Corey Gooden, “if at any point I feel this does not align with my beliefs and values, I’m out”…… obviously I’m still here.

Leaving home, a lot of people lose sight of who they are and where they came from. I was fortunate enough to stumble upon another family who keeps me grounded all the same.

Happy Founders’ Day Brothers!

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