My small human turned one year old last week and I’ve been somewhat introspective about it.
Firstly, holy cow! Gabby and I actually survived a whole year of raising and parenting a small human, all while legitimately having no idea what we were doing.
Secondly, holy cow! Gabby’s and my small human actually survived a whole year of being raised and parented by two people who legitimately had absolutely no idea what they were doing.
Thirdly, we still have no idea what we’re doing.
I was listening to a podcast a while back and the host was talking about this relatively new phenomenon where younger adult men behave as if they’ll live forever.
This is different than the classic “teenage boys believing they’re invincible” thing. This sounds like it’s quite a bit more shallow.
The podcast host was opining that we currently live in a generation with a bunch of immature men who haven’t had to grow up yet. Sure, they’re technically adults and between the ages of 20-30ish, but they haven’t had to grow up yet in any real sense. Their world begins and ends with them; their business endeavors, their financial status, and their life experiences all revolve around themselves.
From my casual viewing, this happening of immature men looks as if it could partly be attributed to the Godless New Age spirituality, which is basically just rebranded old-school Gnosticism.
Let me be specific: The New Age spirituality I’m referring to encompasses everything from Joel Osteen’s prosperity gospel to Rachel Hollis’ cult of self-affirmation to Rhonda Byrne’s Secret to Bob Proctor’s Law of Attraction to James Allen’s As a Man Thinketh, all the way back to Hipster Jesus Christianity.
Most of the New Age spirituality beliefs, particularly the ones listed above, center around finding happiness, autonomy, or authenticity for oneself and solving middle-class problems; obtaining bigger houses, fancier cars, and increased finances to show one’s affluent status to the world. Many of the followers of these ideologies, particularly Proctor and Hollis also boast about having gratitude and the importance of being grateful but don’t ever actually indicate to whom their overflowing gratitude is directed or why it’s directed that way in the first place.
If you’re Hollis, your gratitude is directed at yourself because “You are meant to be the hero of your own story.” (See chapter one of Girl, Wash Your Face.) Whereas Proctor recommends, “If you’re feeling bad, recognize it’s because you’re having negative thoughts. Then quickly change what you’re thinking about so that your vibration changes. The fastest way to do that is to practice gratitude. Expressing gratitude instantly shifts your feeling, which puts you in vibrational harmony with your source of supply so that the good in everything moves toward you.”
Perhaps when you’re the god of your own belief system and always the hero of your own story it’s just implied that all gratitude espoused is directed at yourself, but I could be mistaken.
Interestingly, as this style of belief system increases, those who subscribe to it tend to get married and have kids less and less. The focus on the self increases and they trade marriage, kids, and putting down roots for life experiences, financial irresponsibility, frivolous relationships, and do whatever is necessary to search for and gain personal happiness.
The idea of living forever and being the god of your own belief system is an incredibly immature way of seeing the world. Since everything is secondary to one’s own happiness and the alleged inherent good it is regardless of the impact, one ought not be concerned with the legacy they will leave behind. Time marches on and years go by, but it’s only a number and date change without any real personal impact. There might be occasional episodes of thinking, “Man, where did the last four years go? I legitimately don’t remember that much time going by…” But otherwise, it’s just another New Year’s Eve party; same lifestyle choices, different day.
This ideology doesn’t provide any real sense of duty or responsibility, which are two things that mature people. Clarification: There’s no sense of responsibility or duty to anyone before oneself; everyone else is secondary or tertiary relative to obtaining happiness, authenticity, autonomy, or whatever the goal is written on the vision board that day.
Caveat: There are times when you do need to take care of yourself first. Physical harm, emotional abuse, unsafe situations, and dysfunctional relationships are all times when we need to draw healthy boundaries and care for ourselves first. That’s not what I’m referring to. The majority of life situations aren’t us being on a rapidly descending emotional airplane and needing to put an oxygen mask on ourselves.
I guess the question now is how to become mature if you’re one of those immature men.
According to the podcaster I was listening to and the Heritage Foundation, the answer is to get married and have babies. Oh, and find Jesus. That’s an important step, too.
The Jesus step itself comes heavily tethered with duties and responsibilities toward God and others, along with a solid guideline for how we should live life and interact with God, others, and ourselves. It calls for obedience and Christlikeness and has an objective standard for right and wrong. This juxtaposition is why it inherently opposes nearly all of the New Age Gnosticism.
There are boatloads of evidence indicating that married couples have better physical health, live longer, have more financial stability, increased reported happiness, and greater social mobility than unmarried people.
Marriage also comes with responsibilities and obligations to your spouse. Biblical marriage comes with even more responsibilities and obligations than non-Jesus marriage; in the Jesus marriages, you not only have to answer to your spouse but to God as well. Add children to that recipe, and there’s an even greater amount of commitments and duties.
The Biblical perspective for life is that God loves us and because He loves us, we should love others. Because of that origin point, we have responsibilities to others (especially our spouse and children) and a perfect and holy God that we’ll answer to about the way we loved Him and others (yay for grace!).
It’s kind of crushing to think about, really.
Kids also just change things. When small humans enter the picture, one’s perspective on life radically shifts. Not only are you constantly reminded of how short life is, how quickly it passes, and how utterly not in control of it you are, but every decision you make now also has a direct impact on the life of your offspring and will have some sort of effect in the legacy left for them by you, their parent.
I’ve only had my small human for a year and have no idea what I’m doing as a parent, so take that for whatever it’s worth, but now I’m constantly reminded that I’m getting older and will die eventually…and it’s the coolest thing ever!
Now I have the blessing of seeing life progress and watching the years go by while having this great burden to grow my small, formerly potato-looking human into a thoughtful, intelligent, Christlike, ginger-haired person.
Now I just need to not mess it up too severely.
Sheesh, that’s sobering.
Podcast man, I see your point about how having babies will mature a fella.