It is no secret that I have spent some of my most valuable time working to help young men build better lives. I have seen kids go from aimless, unsure boys to fully mature scholars and men. Through the years one thing that I have noticed is that there is always a gift present in every young man but not always was a fire or a drive to use it to find out its purpose in their lives. It never ceases to puzzle me how much adults, particularly teachers and parents forget or are unaware of how important it is to recognize the difference in the generations. Kid’s, specifically young men, especially as late adolescents are rarely goal oriented or have a clearly defined path. That goes for professionally or academically.
Many young men spend years changing college majors (if they go to college), lost on their parent’s couch, gaming and are never really 120% sold on the path they are on. I am from the 80’s generation where while many times we were still lost at 19, 20, and 21 we eventually figured it out because there were so many driven youngsters around us and honestly because we didn’t feel we had as many options or as much time. Well, today things have changed quite a bit as YouTube, gaming, vlog, and social media stars have given new life to the dangerous and idle mind of young boys yet to figure out the answer to the question “What do you want to do when you grow up?”
Well as a Marvel comic fanatic I have begun to explore this thought. What if Thanos were an American teenager? I know you did not begin this article expecting me to be discussing comic book characters and legacy but go with me for a brief second. What if Thanos, the one being in the Marvel Comic Universe that had a singular life focus and purpose of bringing the universe into balance by whatever means he could, was just a pimply faced kid? How would his behavior drive and attitude have been different? Would he be as driven at such a young age?
Think about it. He had a goal, but to reach it there were multiple steps had to take prior to make it happen. First, getting a team to help him travel the universe in search of the Infinity Stones. Secondly, he had to get someone to produce a Gauntlet or glove that would allow him to harness the power of the stones when he found them. And lastly, he wanted to achieve this goal so bad that he was bravely willing to literally fight whoever it took to achieve it. Yes. Thanos was supposed to be a bad guy and was truly evil but you had to appreciate his planning and drive to achieve what he believed in and his refusal to be dissuaded from that purpose.
Just like you may want that son of yours to take the initiative to grab a suit or learn to tie a necktie to chase the job interview, would Thanos have been so charged to relentlessly prepare and pursue the Infinity stones to accomplish his goal if he was a teenager? Probably not. he may have started with one…got sidetracked to look for something else. Maybe he came back a year later once he received financial aid to help travel to other planets. The point is we all find our way differently.
So, the lesson is, patience may be needed in order to allow these youngsters time to figure it out. And as long as they are moving toward a goal maybe we should all be a little more patient with how long it takes for them to get there. Every path is different. And while it may be hard to hear even for a guy like me who has 2 very young boys of his own that will one day be great young teenage men, we all have to support where we can, teach where we can, and pray they make the right choices.