Sunday, August 31, 2008

"Guyland" or Why My Sons don't Wanna Grow Up

I am reminded of "I Won't Grow Up" song from Peter Pan, the musical. I sang this song on stage at the age of four or five (not sure) during a recital. I still know the words:

I won't grow up
I don't wanna go to school
Just to learn to be a parrot
and recite a silly rule

If growing up means it would be
Beneath my dignity to climb a tree
I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow uuuupp!
Not me. Not I. Not me.

I won't grow up
I don't wanna wear a tie
or a serious expression
in the middle of July.

And if it means I must prepare
to shoulder burdens with a worried air
I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow uuupp
Not me. Not I. Not me. So there!

Never gonna be a man
I won't.
Like to see somebody try
and make me
Anyone who wants to try
and make me turn into a man...
catch me if you can!

I won't grow up
Not a penny will I pinch
I will never grow a mustache
Or a fraction of an inch!

Cuz growing up is awfuler
than all the awful things that ever were
I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow uupp!
No sir!

What strikes me about this video and the accompanying article which you can read if you double click my post title, is how true this study and appraisal of young men seems to be, at least to me.

Our boys are now 20 & 21. They are both in college; one after a false start last Fall. The elder should have completed his Junior year last Spring but didn't want to take a full load. He's still 10 credits short. He doesn't ask for money though. He's working to support himself waiting tables.They are both partyers and neither knows what they want to be when they graduate although the younger one is pretty sure he wants to own his own business and "be rich." I know the feeling.

Many but certainly not all of our friends have sons with varying degrees of similarities in their confusion and their belief they can just get by. None of us understands this and none of us knows how to help. Maybe that is the problem. What we are trying to do and have to learn to do is let go. We have to let go and let them find out for themselves what the world is about.

I listened with rapt attention to Barack Obama's acceptance speech Thursday night. One of his remarks had to do with "accepting responsibility" for who we are and where we are headed. I immediately thought of my sons and wondered when this will happen.

Then I thought of the song, my recital and most of all, Mary Martin.

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