If you’ve watched ‘Russel Peters’ – the Indian turned Canadian – stand-up comedian, you’d probably be very familiar with the above phrase. That is what his father always told him. My Father of course never did – however, it always seemed to be implied. After a certain age, a boy just knows, he needs to be a man – or at best try his best to act as one.
And on the other hand, the common phrase used by women globally that “Boys never grow up” is probably correct to some extent as well. We actually don’t and admitting than women know better about us that we know about ourselves – is always the right thing to do, they do know so much more.
It then, boils down to a series of 2 questions that need to be asked:
Do boys ever grow up to be Men?
Are Men just older version of boys in long sleeve shirts and neatly ironed trousers?
It’s said that girls naturally become women, but boys become men only with proper guidance and taking specific steps and actions.
A girl or a woman cannot guide a boy through this process, only the community of men can do it.
The above statement can be highly debatable from different sections of society, surely – we aren’t getting there. But then again – when a boy is pushed out into the world to do things that he must find his own solutions for, it is only then the male instinct kicks in – to find, explore and come out with a way along with this tribe to be able to have the satisfaction of showing rewards for the completion of a certain task.
Fathers on the other hand are instrumental in the early transitioning of the boys’ life, playing a massive role in helping his boy to be a man. Officially a “boy” is the same thing as a man, the only difference being, the labels of “young” and “youthful” attached to it.
So when does the transition begin to happen – if at all it does? It does differ from individual-to-individual, while for some it happens gradually, for others it is more of a sudden “level-up”. Transition happens when one stops dwelling on trivial things and begins to understand that there’s more to life.
Transitions can be expected or unexpected welcomed or unwelcomed, chosen or imposed, sudden or gradual. Of course, taking all the options above into consideration: our natural tendency is to resist change in our routines.
However, if we look much closer, the transition is more in the mind than anything else – “One doesn’t become an adult, one just learns to act like one”. Transition is about milestones that people gather along life’s path – be in person, professional, academic, athletic or in business – not missing out on the development and maintaining of successful relationships, sex and fatherhood. We cannot single out any on of these that define the transition of a particular individual. It is a journey that happens invisibly unless we decide to pay more attention to it.
I am all of a Man with 39 completed years behind me. You’d think by now, I’d know to do the right thing, take the take the right decisions and fulfill the duties of an almost 40 year old. I also understand the roles and responsibilities that come along in the age bracket I fall into, but like many – I fall short at many places.
If I have to call myself a man today, the transition from a boy to a man would have had taken place somewhere along life’s path – and I was probably oblivious to it. Yes, life moves on from ‘study’ to ‘work’ – from the ‘single’ journey to a ‘married one’ – but is that enough indication that we’ve grown up – that the transition has taken place? We all probably have to answer that question for ourselves.