I was sitting in a café the other day and overheard a group of young ladies complaining about the behaviour of a boy one of them had met. The boy in question had claimed to his friends that he had slept with one of the ladies, even though this had indeed not occurred. I use the word ‘boy’ rather than ‘man’ in this case due to the fact that a man would not behave this way. This is indeed the actions of a boy.
For many men born in the last 40 years, we have been a generation of boys raised by women and then expected to grow into men. It cannot be overly surprising this didn’t happen for a large percentage of adult males. Unfortunately, this manifests as poor behaviour and disappointing conduct which defines men from boys.
Children are encouraged to learn right from wrong at a young age in most schooling systems. We are taught a system of morality within our respective societies that generally discourages lying, stealing or cheating. Some boys, such as the example above, seem to have either missed or ignored those formative lessons.
Men understand themselves and take responsibility for their actions, good or bad. Men don’t allow ego and insecurities to drive their actions and words, but rather the strength of their personality. Amongst the cadre of those that should be proud to call themselves men are leaders and warriors, poets and heroes. Their convictions define their character.
As I’ve mentioned in other articles, the modern era has influenced how boys view manhood with many boys either misunderstanding or rejecting what it means to become a man. A man is not necessarily the stereotype of masculinity, in fact some were diametrically opposed to what society regarded as manly in their time. Harvey Milk was a gay rights activist in San Francisco who was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office. He was true to his convictions and was unshakeable in his self-belief. He was a man who truly understood himself and his place in the world.
There is common parlance for the sort of boy in the first paragraph of this article. The term ‘fuckboy’ denotes the kind of boy that plays games with females in order to sleep with her. In the case that he cannot do so, he would likely lie about the results to his friends to placate his wounded ego. Fuckboys would certainly lie, cheat and manipulate to get what they want and as such never really progress to being men.
The driving force for boys to continue acting like boys is ego. An unrestrained ego causes intense insecurities when the ego is damaged. A man either knowingly or subconsciously understands this problem and does not allow his ego to go unchecked. Unlike a fuckboy, a man doesn’t require constant validation and is largely unconcerned of what people think of him or his convictions.
The modern era has created a society that is not allowing boys to learn, adapt and grow into manhood. We constantly provide affirmation and encouragement to boys for average effort and are generally loath to do anything that will damage self-esteem. The system is not allowing boys to learn from failure and become leaders in their own lives. Parents are expecting a school system to teach what boys should be learning from their fathers and it is failing.
I’m afraid that the status quo is certainly not sustainable, as more and more adult males are lost in the system and stuck in boyhood. My father, for any of the faults he may have had, provided me with some excellent advice when I was young and that assisted me in understanding what it meant to be a man. I encourage fathers to become that example and take time to provide those life lessons. Don’t let your boy stay that way.