According to Pew Research, in 2016, men aged 18 to 36 were more likely to still be sharing a roof with their parents than living alone or with a roommate or partner. Nearly 40 years ago, only 6.3 percent of prime-age men did not work at all over the course of a year. In 2016, it was nearly double that. More and more young people are getting stuck in the transition between childhood and adulthood. We are seeing the “Peter Pan Syndrome” among younger men. Karol Markowicz calls this phenomena, “the failure to launch.” She quotes a 2010 study that found that boys have “higher rates of suicide, conduct disorders, emotional disturbance, premature death and juvenile delinquency than their female peer, as well as lower grades, test scores and college attendance rates.”
I got to reflecting on how I got launched. I will soon be 77 years old. I have live my life as a man. I have had my share of struggles in getting launched and learning to live as a loving, responsible and faithful man. Upholding my launch and journey as a man has been the Lordship of Jesus. I testify with Paul,”I resolved to know nothing…..except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (I Cor 1:2). Jesus has been first in my life since my early conversion at age 18. I owe all to Jesus. Here are some bench marks to my launch and journey. May it be of some help to men reading this blog.
First, family of origins. I came to honor and respect my mother and father, while learning to separate emotionally. Jesus said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Matt 19:5). I never forgot the warning of Proverbs 20:20, “Whoever curses his father or mother – his lamp will go out in deep darkness.” Men, I can not stress the importance living in a spirit of forgiveness toward your parents. Show gratitude as you love and respect them as your parents. It is absolutely foundational to getting properly launched.
Second, getting married. The words of Eph 5:25, “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church” became the guiding principle in my life. If I was to become one flesh with Judy, I would have to love her as my own body. This soulful relationship, continues to be the biggest challenge to my growth as a man. I am what I am in relationship to my wife. The launch into marriage will become the measure of a man.
Third, becoming a father. I was ill prepared for this part of my launch. I was confronted with my selfishness. After my commitment to my wife, being a father was most important in my life. This included my career as a Pastor. I soon realized that my three kids had only one father. They needed me. Now as a grandfather they still need me; especially prayer. Ps. 127:3-4 tells us, “Children are a gift from the Lord, they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.”
Fourth, service to the King. I have desired all my adult life to give humble, loving service to King Jesus. I give full allegiance to him, even though the culture opposes the King and his Kingdom. I testify with Paul, “I calculate everything as a loss, because knowing King Jesus as my Lord is worth for more than everything else put together” ( Phil 3:8 – Wright).
Fifth, becoming an elder. Now I have the joy of passing it on. I take comfort in Ps 92:14, “Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.”