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Making Men out of Boys

“As a busily growing animal, I am scatterbrained and entirely lacking in mental application.  Having no desire at present to expend my precious energies upon the pursuit of knowledge, I shall not make the slightest attempt to assist you in your attempts to impart it.  If you can capture my
unwilling attention and goad me by stern measures into the requisite activity, I shall dislike you intensely, but I shall
respect you.  If you fail, I shall regard you with the contempt you deserve, and probably do my best, in a jolly, high-
spirited way, to make your life a hell upon earth.  And what could be fairer than that?”

—Ian Hay, Housemaster

 

Being a man is tough.  Becoming a man is tougher.

In the last decade, numerous articles, books, and online commentaries have addressed the subject of the adolescent male adult.  Physically and legally, he is a man; he can grow a beard, buy whiskey, join the Army, and make babies.  He can lay pipe, wield a hammer, deal in stocks, sell real estate, and manage a restaurant.  He can do all these things and more, yet in some key respects he remains a teenager.  He still regards himself as the center of the world, primarily concerned with his own wants and desires.  When...

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