Becoming a Man (Or a Woman)

What does it take to be a man today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In my research in preparation for when I get my Master’s and start my PhD, I am thinking about the idea of us having purpose in our lives. This is why we go on quests. They give us something that we seek to overcome. As I ponder this in my own life, it was more than just video games.

My mother and I would regularly get large jigsaw puzzles and set up a card table and have it all out there. These would normally be puzzles of about 1,000 pieces. We would try to do some work each day until we could finally say we had it done. Years later also, we would add in going through Mary Higgins Clark novels and seeing who could figure out who the murderer was.

My grandmother and great aunt loved PennyPress puzzles. I remember doing crostics with them, something I still enjoy today, and I think I am the only one in my family who knows how to do a Sudoku. (Many are still convinced it’s a math puzzle.) We often spent time doing a jumble and to this day, my Dad will contact me about his word trip game and he will give me the seven letters and I will instantly tell him the word that can be made from them. It’s something he really hates.

It’s not just me. How many times have you been scrolling through Facebook and seen something like a brain teaser and stopped to solve it. How many chess lovers have seen a chessboard with figures in play already asking “Can you take white in three moves?” I go to NPR every week just for the puzzle to have something else to think about during the week.

Video games are no exception to this. There is a constant desire to find something new. Today, I watched a video of someone going through Super Mario Brothers 2 in a little over 20 minutes without using any warp zones. Many gamers have created artificial challenges just because they want more.

It looks like if we are not given some goal, we will often create one.

I have been pondering this recently, especially going through a Vivek Ramaswamy book today where he talked about boys and girls growing up without a father. Boys are more likely to turn to gangs, violence, and sex. Girls are more likely to turn to promiscuity. Why is this?

I have a suspicion, and my research will include this, that our day and age has no such thing in America as a rite of passage. What is the magic point today that we say a boy is a man and a girl is a woman? When they hit age 18. Now I know there are some people born with serious health conditions, but for the majority of people today, that’s really not much of an accomplishment. Most people will hit age 18.

Not only that, we have all met plenty of people who are under 18 and are practically adults in how they live. We have also met many people who are over 18 who are practically still children. Hitting 18 is not a magic moment that suddenly matures you.

My recommendation is that in our society, we need something for people to shoot towards. We need some challenge that when people reach this, whatever age they are, they can say they are a man or a woman. I don’t know what that challenge is yet, but I think something is needed. When people have a challenge, they are less likely to engage in other dangerous behavior.

I think it was when I was going through the book Moral Combat: Why The War On Violent Video Games is Wrong that I was hearing about the fear of another Grand Theft Auto game being released. The fear was that this would lead to a spike in crime. The day came of release and yes, the crime rate changed.

It dropped.

Personally, I’d be curious to know if this happens at other times

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