It was 2013, and I was standing behind the register of a local Game Stop. I was still in Grad school for counseling at the time so working at a dead-end job like this gave me what was supposed to be a reprieve from all the studying. Instead, it was one of the best classes on human behavior I could have ever taken.
Let’s get something straight; I like video games. I still play them online with friends. However, working at Game Stop gave me a glimpse into how many men see the world and act upon it. When I say “act upon it” what I really mean is, run from it. I saw men and boys time after time come into the store searching for something. Being a “game advisor” part of my job was to go talk to these people and find out what they were looking for.
Over and over, after speaking with these men, they were looking for meaning. Oh, it would come out in different words than that, but they were always looking for the same thing, purpose, and meaning. Players of World of Warcraft at the time were seeking adventure and a place to belong. Players of Halo wanted to have the feeling of being important in a story. They wanted to know that their actions had an impact; even if that impact was a fictional one.
I find this type of lostness even today. More so maybe. Men continually seek war to wage only to punt on their lives and get lost in meaningless activities. Is it no wonder that we have “man-boys” living in their parent’s basements living out a fantasy where they are the ruler of a kingdom or the hero in some made-up interactive story. It gives the illusion of fulfillment to sex that is starving for it.
So what is the answer? I believe a lot of this comes down to how we choose to raise our sons. Do we call them to action? Do we call them into a purposeful life filled with the challenge of raising a family and providing for them, protecting them? Do we call them to hard work? Creating in them an understanding of purpose through the very sweat of their brow (or exertion of their minds)? We need to be hard on our boys to raise them into the men that Christ has called us to be. To instill respect and meaning through Biblical teaching and the harsh reality of rising to meet the expectations of us, their fathers. No son? No problem. Work to be a man who leads the youth through example. Still a youth yourself? Find a man (hopefully it’s your own dad) who exemplifies what it means to be a man and follow that man!
We can change our country. We can change our world. Be a man who is silken iron; gentle but strong, responsible and hard-working, dependable and honest. It isn’t too late.
D. Michl Lowe