The life of a young man is complex. People see us as naïve, rambunctious, irresponsible, restless, and unreliable. To an extent they are right. But don’t write us off just yet. No, instead, let me shed some light on this tragically trying time.
Freedom. Anyone who has seen Braveheart can attest to the traditional cost of freedom. But in this day and age, we get freedom without much cost. When we say goodbye to our parents and hello to no curfews, parties, community living, and girls, we feel like we’ve reached the pinnacle of all that is freedom: College.
We’ll soon find out that no curfews mean late nights and learning to hate our 8am’s, vowing to never take them again. Parties lead to mistakes only realized in the morning. Community living loses any potential luster when the guy next to you pees in the shower stall and you endure the stench as it flows into the only drain that just happens to be under your feet. And then there are girls. Either applying or rejecting any advice given to us by our fathers, we attempt to understand and “woo” the female species. Refusing to recognize that we’ll never understand them, we continue the pursuit.
In this new-found freedom, however, comes a terrifying reality of learning to think for yourself. Whether we choose to participate in the church or not, we are forced to start making choices without the influence of our parents. Regardless of what they think, they don’t really know what we do, so really, what control do they really have? ;)
If we choose to be a part of the church, we soon experience the questioning, doubting, and late nights talks trying to figure out the theology of God. Some of us give up. Some of us try to put God in a box to ease our restless minds. Others merely follow others blindly, refusing to think for themselves. Then there are those of us who continue to fight for our relationships with God, determined to never give up no matter the cost.
While figuring out the very things that make us the men we are, we get pressured by society to marry the perfect girl, get the good job, and make sure we have everything figured out by the time we graduate at the ripe age of 22.
Some of us soon trade in our frat shirts and flip-flops for oxfords and ties. Our late night antics no longer sustain us for those 8am business meetings. Having spent four years not answering to anyone, we suddenly have a boss breathing down our necks. Even if we have the job, when we don’t have the girl by our side, we wonder what’s wrong.
Then some of us decide that the pressures of society are too great and instead retreat into a freshman mindset of going and doing anything and everything our small monetary resources will allow. Our parents and their friends crack jokes about our leisure lives out of jealousy. They request we do something with our lives. Be worth something. What they don’t realize is that we are.
Every young man is merely trying to figure out who they are. Having been exposed to soccer practices, trumpet lessons, football games, church choir, and art classes growing up, we have no idea how to hone in on one skill to which we can devote the rest of our lives. That’s why some of us even decide to go to more schooling. Why not try something else?
So anyone who feels like they can’t understand us, take what we do with a grain of salt. We are a new generation with new battles against a degenerate society. Not all of us are clueless. Not all of us are without direction. We are not the lethargic sloths you think. We merely see the importance of gaining an identity. So help us in that. Meet us where we are. It’s not easy to grow up, and you should already know that. So remember what it’s like to be young and venturing into the unknown and support us accordingly.