As a father to a incredible little girl, I have to face the harsh reality of her meeting and connecting with a young man at some point in her life and then having to meet this new love of hers before giving her away in marriage.
(I am literally entering a depression just having written the intro.)
My hope is this day is still about 25 years away. Plenty of time for the rage, sadness and denial to all melt into some weird form of acceptance.
Until then, I am left with this strange, protective feeling toward all the young ladies out there who happen to be daughters themselves of fathers who can completely sympathize with these emotions.
With this understood, I would like to take a moment to pull back the curtain on the simplistic, inner thought process of a young man for those confused young women.
You see, when the boy you have started to notice hits this little time in his life called puberty, he transforms from being pure sweetness and innocence into what is basically just an awkward version of a werewolf.
Patches of fur start sprouting all over his body. His torso, arms and legs all stretch out to somewhat comical proportions. A pungent new odor begins to emit from his underarms and his face basically explodes. Oh, not to mention the squeaking sounds sporadically escaping his mouth whenever he speaks.
But all of those changes are clearly visible and ones you would be wise to take note of as you attempt to interact with the beast.
What I really want you to know about are the main thoughts that begin to consume the young man both during and after the transition takes place.
Food. Sleep. Girls.
I’m sure you are probably thinking, “Ok…but where’s the rest of the list?”
Nope. That’s all.
As with any newly transformed creature, there is a certain period of adjusting and coming to understand the new form and needs that accompany the change. Until he reaches a certain age, usually into the mid to late 20s, his desires are ruled by two main words, “I want ________”. Sure, the blank is only one of those three words at first, but eventually as he comes to grips with his new self, the young man starts to understand what goes into earning time with each.
Sure, food and sleep are usually fairly easy to obtain and he won’t need much education in how to consistently fulfill this need. But to earn even a moment of your time, the boy will go to extraordinary lengths.
The younger they are, the more they will revert to comical displays of masculinity or possibly just trying to annoy you in order to get some attention.
As they grow older, the teen will attempt to gain your favor through slightly more sophisticated means, which often involve flattery, gifts or even public displays of affection.
And then, when the young man reaches the college age…well…they usually revert back to their old, juvenile behavior for a time, but will eventually get it together and start to learn your attention is best won through respectful interactions. Instead of telling you about themselves, you will actually be able to talk and share aspects of your own life. They will listen intently because they care and the simple “I want _____” that had occupied their every thought since those monstrous changes through adolescence have now been replaced with sincere desires to experience life with a partner by their side.
Now, there is no telling at what age this maturity will take hold, which is why you are charged with guarding yourself and making sure to give them as little attention as possible until they have demonstrated their desires have grown past toddler-type instincts.
Your job is to help train the young men at your school, in your church or neighborhood and even at your jobs by demanding the highest level of respect when they seek to gain your attention.
The best part is, it’s not on you to teach the guy to do things the right way, you just have to hold him to the standard you desire and deserve in a future partner.
So, now that you have this sneak peek into the simple inner workings of the mind of young males everywhere, I beg you, for the sake of all the fathers out there who had to work through their own transition, reserve your time and attention for the best of the best.
You are worth far more than anything a boy has to offer and will understand this better as you experience the one God meant for you and the tremendous lengths he is willing to go to in order to earn just a few minutes of your time.