Here’s another myth many men believe today.
College lasts for twelve years.
What do I mean by that? I mean that many men have bought into the contemporary fiction that they don’t need to grow up. It’s that simple. Many men today think that they can put off family and steady work for as long as they want and then pick these things up when they please. They feel no sense of duty to God, family or country and act only as pleases them. Such is the code for many a young man.
College, it should be said, is a great time. It is fun to have friends and do goofy things and hang out alot, and I’m not out to destroy that. I can’t really see marriage working for most college-age people. We as a culture don’t prepare men to be married during their college years, and I’m not sure I would quarrel with that. Men and women should get to know one another as friends, develop healthy patterns of interaction with the opposite sex, study like crazy, and have fun during college. I would advocate a serious-minded approach to college, but I wouldn’t try to strip the collegiate experience of fun. What I would try to change today is the post-collegiate collegiate period that many young men go through these days. Many young men of my generation enjoy college a great deal and then decide upon graduating that they don’t really want to give up the collegiate lifestyle, with its flirting, its freedom, its lack of commitment. You don’t have to commit to a woman, you don’t have to commit to a job, you don’t have to commit to anything but having fun. You can flirt, you can travel, you can goof off–anything you want, dude, it’s your time and noone else’s.
All of that’s fine from a cultural standpoint. But there’s this whole deal called Christianity which calls men to a) be husbands b) be fathers c) be responsible laborers d) grow up. Over against the cultural code of immaturity there is a biblical code of maturity that involves putting aside the fun pastimes of youth and taking on the meaningful responsibilities of manhood. You trade fun foolishness for fun productivity, in more ways than one. Both ways of life, the collegiate and the post-collegiate, are fun, you see. It’s not either/or. It’s a matter of whether one has fun in a socially helpful, personally beneficial, spiritually maturing kind of way, or a self-gratifying, others-ignoring, unending-adolescence kind of way. We’ll talk more about this, but for now, that’s a pretty weighty trade to think about.