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Transition; making boys men.

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Transition from one level in life to another is quite problematic, for anyone. Particularly, it poses a number of challenges for boys, across the world.

Boys who know it or otherwise. Young 15-20 year olds trying to find their freedom, and 28-40 year olds who may not even be aware.
Boys who’ve spent most of their first two decades, and more, in 9 months a year schools and later discovered that all they’ve learnt when they venture out into “the real world” characterized by bills and unemployment, isn’t that helpful as they only return home with their degree certificates to complete video games.
Boys by the nature of their residence (boy’s quarters), taking second or no place at all while sharing the same roof as their parents, and employment as well (remember the South African Mine Boys?)

The following easy to understand differences that I’ve collected over a period of years, may not be entirely new to you but I believe they’ll always make very useful reading for any gentleman in our continuous struggle to become incredible gentlemen.

1. Boys ask questions. Men give answers.

2. Boys play house. Men build homes.

3. Boys shack up. Men get married.

4. Boys make babies. Men raise children.

5. A boy won’t raise his own children. A woman will raise his, and someone else’s.

6. Boys invent excuses for failure. Men produce strategies for success.

7. Boys look for somebody to take care of them. Men look for somebody to take care of.

8. Boys seek popularity. Men demand respect and know how to give it.

9. Boys go out. Men come back.

10. Boys are students. Men are teachers.

11. Boys are consumers. Men are producers.

12. Boys play with toys. Men work with tools.

13. Boys break things. Men make things.

14. Boys are disruptive. Men bring order.

15. Boys run in gangs. Men organise teams.

16. Boys are present-centered. Men are time-balanced, having a knowledge of the past and understanding of the present and a vision for the future.

17. Boys are up on the latest. Men are down with the greatest.

And what does a man do or rather, how does he behave? There is no better source of inspiration and or direction other than from some top ten quotable men who have lived before us.

JFK put it more succinctly when he said; “A man does what he must – inspite of personal consequencies, inspite of obstacles and dangers, and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.”

The internet sensation (for his jokes and movies from back in the day) Chuck Norris, weighed in as well and said that; “Men are like steel. When they lose their temper, they lose their worth.”

Camus, in The Fall, had something useful to say; “After a certain age, every man is responsible for his face.”

On employment, Theodore Roosevelt put it right that; “Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.”

George Washington too; “Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.”

One of my favorite authors, Oscar Wilde, was on point; “Between men and women, there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.”

Machiavelli, of course; “It is not titles that make men illustrious, but men who make titles illustrious.”

Plato couldn’t accept to be left out either, he contributed, concisely, that; “When men speak ill of thee, live so as nobody may believe them.”

Timelessness is important to make sure that man (and organisations) doesn’t get sloppy. And Napoleon addressed it when he said; “There is one kind of robber whom the law doesn’t strike at, and who steals what is most precious to men; time.”

And none capped it better than (I believe, one of the best lyricists ever) Bob Dylan when he said; “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night, and in between does what he wants to do.”

To all the men, I take my hat off to you for holding your own and handling your business. Boys, I know it gets hard out here sometimes, and you get discouraged but keep your head up, you will reap your just reward.

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