Friday, September 14, 2007

B, a man.

B and I had this long discussion in the car yesterday. T turned two earlier this week, so B wanted to know what he is now.

That is, T used to be a baby.

Then, he got mobile, started walking and messing with everyone's stuff, so we called him a toddler.

B wants to know what he is now. Well, he used to be a baby. (yup). Now he is a toddler (no, he was a toddler when he was one). Yeah, he still is a toddler (no, he was that last year). He still is.

You see, you start as a baby. Then you start toddling and you are a toddler. Then, you turn into a little boy. Then you are a big boy. Then you grow into a man. (that takes 21 days, says B - B has an unusual sense of time)

No, not 21 days. (how long then?).

Good question.

I have been struggling with this lately. Someone close to me (we'll call him H), is turning fifty. Isn't that a man?

Except, this very dear person hasn't ever really grown up. There is no sense of ownership and responsibility. H has never kept a long-term job ("the bastards fired me, for no reason", H is always gobsmacked when fired). H has never learned that sometimes even if you yacked during the night (or your pillow wasn't soft enough), you have to go to work. H has never learned that it is fair for a company to expect payment for services (even if the company is wealthy, or the salesperson was an asshole). It is not unfair that people have nicer things than you, it is because they have worked hard (and reliably) and saved. Even if they were just lucky and have wealthy parents (even if it they are complete shitheads), it isn't unfair, it is life - get over it and worry about yourself. H has never learned that you should focus your personal relationships on people that treat you with respect and love, rather than those that shit on you and lie. H has never learned (even with people that he loves and that love him back) to follow through; show up when you say you will and be there when people need you. Even though H is important in my life, I avoid making plans with H, because I can count on him either being late (best case scenario) or calling with a last minute (usually fabricated and transparently so) excuse.

So, when does a boy become a man? Some people never do.

I sure hope that I live to see all of my boys become men.


richgold said...

I worry that eldest child unit will go the same way as H. It's a hard, uphill slog.

But, to answer your question with my observation - a boy becomes a man chronologically at 18 or 21 - depending on who you consult.

As you point out, it's not the age that counts, but the actions (taking responsibility for your actions, and putting other's first occassionaly, are big mile stones for me).

BOSSY said...

Bossy votes for 18. Although some hold onto their Inner Toddler.