Boys need adventure and challenge to grow up properly. They need time to run through fields and break things. Occasionally, knees must be skinned. Challenges must be confronted. Sometimes, they’ll have to deal with failure, maybe even find a way to deal with a bully on their own. Yes, this hurts their feelings, but do you think John Wayne got that way by being coddled?
But their parents solve every conceivable problem for them, shield them from every potential heartbreak. If they have an issue with the teacher, either it’s the teacher’s fault or the kid belongs on drugs. They’re taught to value cooperation and teamwork over achievement. Bullies are a problem for administrators and documentary film-makers to solve, not the kids themselves.
Helmets on tricycles. Grade inflation. Not keeping score for T-ball. Adult supervision every minute the kid is outside. Cooperative learning. Suspensions for pretending a chicken nugget is a gun. He watches Dad submit to Mom (if he happens to have one) and is continually reminded of the superior behavior of his sister.
Don’t forget your knee-pads before you get on that bike! No teeter-totters or they might sue the school.
One gone, one to go.
So he graduates from college drowning in debt. Never before has he had to confront an actual challenge, and now he’s so much in the hole it would make his badass grandfather who survived Chosin cower. The economy’s a complete mess so he can’t find a job, and even if he could, it would bore the crap out of anyone with so much of an ounce of testosterone. If he manages to create something, he’s told “You Didn’t Build That.”
Either living in mom’s basement or a drone by age twenty-four.
Got rid of that one, too.
American kids are spoiled as hell, I know (girls more than boys, however). There’s no denying it.
Spoiled kids have an especially hard time with basic challenges, but being spoiled makes actual tangible difficulties like massive debt in a tanking economy even more difficult.
And even if the poor guy gets it right, finds a job, and does the “right” thing, he’s years away from any chance of living life on his own terms.
So he might as well just master Call of Duty.
We’ve been amazingly lucky in this country, maybe too lucky for too long. We have no idea how rough it can really get. I’ve been in the Army and been to a combat zone (not actual combat), so I’ve gotten a glimpse.
Yet I know what our soldiers and Marines survived on Okinawa, and I can’t imagine us finding enough young men today to even be capable of pulling something like that off. (And I don’t think that female soldiers would help a whole lot. Anyone who thinks that women storming Normandy alongside men would have helped us win knows nothing about the realities of combat.)
More than ever before, the men of today are both incapable of doing what it takes and seeing much reason to try. They’ve been stripped of their privileges and rendered impotent in the face of their responsibilities. They’re incapable of sacrifice because they’ve no real core to put on the line. They can’t handle failure, and success just means that the giant numbers on the loan statement eventually get a little bit smaller.
And if it really hits the fan we’re toast. We’ll be expecting men who’ve had everything handed to them for the first two decades of their lives to sweat and toil to maintain a fraction of their current standard of living.
Over at Jezebel they can criticize men for whining all the want, but one of these days it might even bug them that so many men today have “gone Galt”. Maybe the guys will get some sympathy.
Or maybe not.