The emergency department, court rooms, and prison cells have seen the faces of far too many young men caught at the wrong place, at the right time. I say right time, because it is in those instances that some of the blatant struggles of this generation are met, and come face to face with the professionals in society who are better equipped to assist them, or guide them, or force them (whichever is better received) into a better place.
Often times, the wrong place isn’t just a physical location, but a mental, emotional and spiritual place; your frame of mind, level of emotional stability, and the awareness and respect of God or a god contributes significantly to behaviour and thought processes.
My opinion, is that young men, both here and abroad are lacking in all of the above mentioned categories. But since I’m not a guy, and I am probably not fit enough to speak on their behalf or come up with an accurate conclusion as to why they seem lost, I interviewed a handful of young men, in their late teens to late twenties.
One man, age 27, asked me, “What the meaning is of lost?” And I said: someone with little to no ambition, 35 and still dependent on their parents, with no idea what they want from life, and is making all the wrong decisions – that kind of thing.
After what looked like careful consideration, he explained, that by my definition, he could understand and agree totally that some are lost. However, being in your late 30’s and living at home wasn’t a great issue to him. He also pointed out that it would be easy for a young man to appear lost if he does not fit into the general mainstream standard of what he should achieve.
Moving onward, I asked, better questions such as: “Why can’t our men communicate effectively?”
“Why are they obsessed with drugs, alcohol and sex?”
“What are the reasons for not taking responsibility for their actions?”
“Why are 30-year-old men still throwing temper tantrums?”
Ultimately, their collective responses fell into two categories – neglect and lack of role models.
Neglect – Evidently, they feel as though they have little guidance, and after a certain age, their loved ones basically neglect them. By neglect, I don’t mean not being fed, and groomed but their emotional, social, psychological and spiritual needs are not met, and they are left flying blind trying to feel their way through it all. In fact, one guy told me that only women are empowered, men are not. No one cares enough to tell them that they are good enough, and they are capable, that they don’t have to behave a certain way or achieve specific things to be worthy of love and affection and attention, and in figuring that out the deprivation manifests itself in the worst ways.
No Role Models
Another, at age 29 simply stated that the problem with our young boys is men. He is of the firm belief, and many others shared his opinion, that everyone needs an example to grow up. However, the achievements of men are not widely recognized, but their downfalls are amplified throughout society, and that is what is creating the problem. They all agreed that it is true and that they needed someone to look up to when they were younger, and that they still do. They need someone to take advice from, but sometimes it’s hard to admit that you need help. Sadly, when you look around, there aren’t many positive patterns for them to follow. Nicely put, one guy said, “Somethings I just need my dad to talk to…it’s not everything I can talk to my mother about.”
In the end, I asked each of the guys to give me one piece of advice they wish they’d gotten from a male figure while growing up, I chose 3 to share with you:
“Life goes by fast … it’s okay to find my own way and it was okay for me to figure it out by myself.”
“Don’t hurt women because guilt bites.”
“I wish someone explained how life worked as a businessman. They say go to school, learn and life would be great […] it isn’t as great as they made it seem.”
I think, that if we continue with this sort of socialization of our young men, that our ‘strong’ women will have no one suitable to be with. Which is sad, because she ends up with a man who is really a child in a grown man’s body.
Far too often we give up on our guys. Yes, some are difficult; yes, they are hard headed, but the moment they start being defiant, we simply turn our backs – because it’s easy. It’s no wonder the family structure is deteriorating before our very eyes.So many young men, so many older men could have been guided out the the tendency to self destruct. And maybe with that guidance we could “still have some good men out there.”
However, we see, from our very households, and communities that it’s the same mothers who are raising this generation of ‘strong, independent, free thinking’ young women, their sons are wayward, and backward. After examining the minute details of the reasons for their negative behaviours it’s because of the reasons discussed above, and probably many more unique factors, but that is not for me to dig into – just yet.
My point is, you cannot wait for after your daughter marries, or makes a child with a no good guy, more accurately, “a vyé neg” as it is locally known; or wait for your son to go to jail and you have to scratch your head to find the $20,000 bail to make sure that our young men are given an environment where they can flourish into contributing, law abiding members of society. It’s stupid, and taxing to wait so long. Granted, some of them are far gone, and it will be difficult, but not impossible to at least try to give them just a little a time of what they are in desperate need of- love, affection, attention and most importantly- guidance.