Monday, June 21, 2010

Angry Young Men

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Angry Young Men

We live in a society of angry young men. You see them everywhere - slouching, defiant, rebellious. Is this just a natural "stage" of development, or are we creating these malcontents?

As our sons have gotten older, my husband and I have given these questions a lot of thought. We have witnessed many friends sons grow from being sweet, fun-loving ruddy little boys into being angry, rude, disrespectful "teenagers". We have watched godly parents lose their sons in fits of rebellion, leaving mangled remnants of families to stagger onward. Is there any hope for us? Will our sweet sons be fodder for an angry world?

As we were watching a movie one evening, I had an epiphany. It was not a great movie, in fact, we turned it off shortly after watching this one, life-changing scene. The movie was Alexander the Great, and the scene was around the time Alexander was 12 years old. His father was watching his men trying to break and "unbreakable" stallion. The stallion was truly rogue. He would wildly strike at any person within striking distance. He lounged, kicked, bit. Alexander's father issued a decree that any man who could tame the horse, could have him. None of the soldiers came forward to claim the prize. No man came forward. No man but Alexander himself. At 12 years old, he said "Father, I can tame him!". At this statement, Alexander's mother moved to stop her young son, but his father, with one look, warned his mother to remain silent. Was this the action of a controlling man? Or was it the action of a man, who knows what men in the making require? Alexander brought that horse out of the shadows (he fought for fear of the shadows) and rode him admirably. That horse became the stead, Bucephalus, that Alexander the Great rode into battle when he conquered the mighty Persian Empire.

I believe that was the moment that Alexander the Great became a man. Would he have become the man that he was, had his mother been successful in her attempt to "protect" him? I do not think that he would have. His father knew what was needed. Although it makes no sense to women, men need defining moments of manhood.
Back to angry young men. The epiphany I had while watching that movie was this - mothers need to step out of the way. When boys get to the age of "young men", we moms need to examine the way that we interact with our sons. I believe that we have angry young men because men were designed to be the "head". They were not designed to be directed by women. They were designed to lead, not to be led. Little boys require direction from their mom. Young men require direction from the men in their lives. When mothers continue to dictate everything to their young man, they either become milquetoast and weak, or angry and rebellious. You see both of those extremes every day. One marries a woman that will dominate him. She will rule their home with an iron fist, and he will let her. She will complain that her husband never "leads", but believe me, she won't "let" him, and he won't take the reins. The other get angry. He marries the woman his mother despises the most. He does it to prove a point - that HE is in control. He cuts ties with his family, either partially or completely. He then either become a control freak, or becomes what he hates - a "yes man" to his wife.

What then? I want more for my sons. I don't want them to marry women who tell them what to do. I don't want them to be angry, spiteful and unhappy. I want sons who take up their God-given mantle of priest, provider, prophet and protector of their homes. I want them to lead their families in love, humility and with what the Marines call "servant leadership".

The answer, in my humble opinion, lies with we mothers. As moms, we need to "let" our husbands lead. We need to step out of our comfort zone and let our husbands deal with our boys as men. This often is contrary to what we think is right. In practice, that has meant me "asking" my older son to do things, not "telling" him to do them. If he chooses not to, he deals with his dad. I take myself out of the equation. It means that when our son asked for a motorcycle, I swallowed my "mom" reaction and didn't say a thing. It means that when it is getting dark, and my son and his motorcycle "Vera" aren't home yet, I don't call to remind him that he needs to be home, but let him face the consequences of not being responsible.

This theory is still a work in progress. The philosophy seems to line up with scripture. It is the practical application that needs refining. This is new territory for me. I have to ask my husband frequently for guidance. It seems there is a battle on all fronts for our sons. Their own sinful natures, generations of mixed up gender roles, the modern church and many other forces all play a part in defining our young men. Men and women are both vying for superiority, not realizing God's plan for our roles is perfect. The modern church is trying to replace parents authority with "youth group" and society, in general, is apathetic in regards to fathers - they don't honor men or the irreplaceable role of fatherhood.

My challenge is this....lets examine our roles as mothers with regards to our emerging young men. Lets reverence our husbands, especially in front of our sons. Lets embrace our role as wives and mothers. Lets let our boys become men.


  1. WOW, such a timely post. My 22 yr old son is moving back in this week after 1 1/2 years on his own. He's decided thats its ok to accept Obama's unemployment "assistance". Of course as his well-meaning parents, we are hoping he'll come home, get a job, then move out again. He's in a relationship that he doesn't really care about but is afraid of being alone. I'm afraid I wear the pants in the house, but after your post, I realize thats part of the problem. Thank you for your insight!

  2. Hello Enola, I am Holly Johnson, I am very new to your Blog. I am excited about your whole way of life. We too lived off the grid at one time, though not on purpous. My husband got injured and we could not keep it. (Long story short)I feel I am a kindred spirit and I am gleening from your experience. I attend Household of faith community church in southern Oregon. We are family integrated, no youth groups, no sunday school. 99% homeschooled children. No outbursts or tempertantrums. We are 75 children and 42 adults. There is also no dating, only courtships. It is amazing to see truly Godly young people who love thier parents. I look forward to reading more. Holly

  3. You have very good points here Enola; As a young man myself, I can look back on my family growing up and others around me to see the problems caused by women who say they want men to lead but then won't let them lead.
    I believe it goes along with the feminisation of men discussed in some of your other posts - men aren't allowed to be men, and women try but can't because they aren't men, and everybody suffers.
    As a single man, I am looking closely at what my expectations and fears are in seeking a wife and I am realizing the importance of a Godly woman who will nurture and enable my leadership of the family.

  4. Thank you for sharing your insight on this. I have linked it on my blog.