Men Won’t Grow Up

Dave Boehi at Family Life has written his take on men not growing up. The new take? Same as the old one. And when you look through the lists of articles for men and for women you will see represented the clearly divergent directions the church has taken for Christian brothers and sisters. Review the lists. In context, it explains why, once men and women have entered churchian life,  women are carried, usually by men, with other men fanning them with Palm fronds. The image is Cleopatra-esque.

Boehi praises his father as a sacrificial leader. He observes that there are many men choosing a life of teenage debauchery over sacrificially leading a family:

I’ve been thinking about my father lately as I’ve thought about men who won’t grow up. For example, Merry is involved in a ministry to business women here in Little Rock, Arkansas, and she has met many women whose husbands reverted to adolescent behavior after years of marriage. They decided to leave their wives and children to pursue the excitement and adventure they felt they were missing.

Yawn. For all the complaining these people do about the negative effects television and movies has on culture, including how men are portrayed as idiots, how can they not see that the stereotype of the man running off to be with younger women and having a mid-life crisis is a parody, a largely fictional image today based on what indeed may have happened when men had the balance of power in family law and social stigma? I call out crap here and say, no, she does not “know many” women who have had this happen, if “many” is to be defined as a preponderance of divorced women she knows. If that is true, than she could also say she knows “many women” whose husbands decided to become homosexual, or have sex change operations. If we are going to play loose with verifiable facts, then lets.

He asks:

What makes this generation of young men different from previous ones is that many are delaying marriage longer than before, and our culture is encouraging them to prolong adolescent behavior.

The cites the book, Guyland, to answer:

Guyland is the world in which young men live.  It is both a stage of life, [an] undefined time span between adolescence and adulthood that can often stretch for a decade or more, and … a bunch of places where guys gather to be guys with each other, unhassled by the demands of parents, girlfriends, job, kids, and the other nuisances of adult life.  In this topsy-turvy, Peter-Pan mindset, young men shirk the responsibilities of adulthood and remain fixated on the trappings of boyhood, while the boys they still are struggle heroically to prove that they are real men despite all evidence to the contrary.

See the switcheroo?

His first point was about men leaving their wives. His answer to it was irrelevant, in that it speaks to young men who do not marry or delay marrying. These are not cause and effect because they are comparing apples and oranges. Men like this lack the ability to think linearly. The writing is purely emotion based.

It’s as if these young men have developed a warped idea of manhood.  They think becoming a man means getting to do whatever they want.  So for them, starting a family means giving up their cherished independence.  With that type of mindset, you wonder what type of husbands and fathers they will be when they finally set aside their childish ways.

Did they or didn’t they set aside their childish ways? Which is it? They either did, in which case all is well, or they didn’t, in which case things are not good.

Leaving off half the problem as usual:

Our sinful, human nature craves independence; we want to go our own way, and avoid the responsibilities of commitment to God and to other people.  As Isaiah 53:6 tells us, “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.”

He suggests that scripture, when speaking to “us” is speaking only to men. Women have no craving for independence apparently.

We live in a culture that celebrates youth and beauty and independence—even at the expense of growing up.

Hello. Is this comment aimed at men? If so, lets unpack it. It means that men are attracted to youth and beauty. Bad men, bad. Obviously that is not what he meant, per se. But to mean what it says, that this comment applies to women would be counter to the points he is attempting to make.

Many young men today immerse themselves in a world of media entertainment and diversions that tell them it’s okay to live a self-centered lifestyle, free of commitments to anything beyond endless and mindless pleasure.

Do we blame them? Yes, in the strictest sense, yes. There are no excuses. But there are reasons.

Men that would prefer an attractive wife and wait for that are the problem. Men that marry and find themselves divorced by their wives are the problem. men who cannot find an attractive wife are the problem. And men who see all that and decide to take a pass are the problem.

Boehi speaks fondly of his father.

I’m fortunate to have a father who modeled how to take responsibility—he provided well for his family, he loved my mother, he was involved in his church and community, and he worked hard at helping raise my sister and me.  He was consistent, stable, and wise—and he was there for us.

What he misses is that if his mother had decided to dump his father for the cut of his jib, his father would have been, by his estimation, a man who never grew up.


10 thoughts on “Men Won’t Grow Up

  1. “They decided to leave their wives and children to pursue the excitement and adventure they felt they were missing.”

    Isn’t this what most women do after so many years of marriage? I believe some say “This is not where I wanted to be in life at this time.”

  2. “What makes this generation of young men different from previous ones is that many are delaying marriage longer than before, and our culture is encouraging them to prolong adolescent behavior.”

    While it’s true that many men are delaying marriage, it’s not to pursue prolonged adolescent behavior, it’s because they see little to no value in marriage anymore. The risk/reward simply doesn’t pencil out in their favor.

  3. Empath:
    Since I’m on a roll posting music, I would like to offer Boehni, Rainey, and the rest of the ‘Step Up’ crowd the following as their new anthem. If the lyrics don’t totally apply to them and their advice, I don’t know what does—

  4. Empath:
    LOL—yes I had one as a kid; although I mostly grew up in the Cassette Era. I’m actually sorry that this kind of music isn’t produced anymore. But I suppose these kinds of lyrics would get too many people thinking about things our cultural leaders would prefer they didn’t think about!

  5. Vascularity & Empath:
    My uncle actually had a reel-to-reel tape deck. That was even before the 8 track era LOL I’ve seen reel tapes advertised in some old 60s magazines; I don’t think they’ve been around since the 70s at least.

  6. I had a reel to reel deck in the 70’s, I was in HS, late 70’s, and i used it as an amp for an old electric guitar, it was a big self contained thing

  7. I read Family Life article, and all I can say is he is living in the past.

    Who, exactly, does he expect these young men to marry, given that the expected meme for woman today is to spend their 20’s getting an education and establishing their career, then when they turn 30 to get married and start a family?

    Sure, not EVERY woman thinks like that, but it’s enough that it’s more than enough to create a huge shortage of women in their 20’s who will even contemplate marriage.

    A man’s 20’s has always been the decade when he explores life. Looking for the right career, trying different activities, and looking for the right woman to marry. But, since there is a huge shortage of women in their 20’s willing to marry, men are spending their exploratory 20’s on other pursuits.

    When men hit 30, their minds typically turn towards their career. The go-getter in any office is invariably a guy between 30 and 40 trying to make off the bottom job rungs into a middle level (or higher) position.

    When men hit 40, they start thinking about starting their own business or making the next big career jump into the upper tier of their profession.

    Exploratory 20’s, career focused 30’s, career big jump 40’s. Men have been following this life pattern for generations. And, they aren’t going to change this pattern anytime soon.

    It’s women that have changed their life patterns–changed them so they don’t mesh with men’s life patterns. Like two gears with different sized teeth, they simply don’t fit together.

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