Getting Married and Having Children Doesn’t Make You an Adult

February 21, 2011

Philosophy

I recently read an article on WSJ.com entitled, “Where Have the Good Men Gone?” In it, the author laments the fact that today’s men seem to be stuck in an extended adolescence characterized by actors like Seth Rogen in “Knocked Up”. The men of today are less likely to achieve the milestones that characterize adulthood, such as “a high-school diploma, financial independence, marriage and children.” After I was done reading her feminist rant, I felt the need to defend our sex.

First off, let me say that I wholeheartedly agree that there is nothing positive about the man who still lives with his parents well into his 20s/30s, who watches TV all day, plays video games, and has no motivation in life. I doubt anyone would dispute that. It becomes clear that the author’s main purpose for writing the article is to berate men who have a different opinion of what becoming an adult means. To her, transitioning into this phase involves getting married and having children which will, in turn, magically transform you into a responsible grown-up. If you delay this process too long or don’t decide to follow this path, you must be Jack Black or Adam Sandler in “Billy Madison”.

In the book Work Less & Play More by Steven Catlin, the author uses the term “Tradition Acquisitions”. Tradition Acquisitions “are made by people who don’t think for themselves” and “anyone who robotically conforms to societal standards.” If your acquisition was partly or wholly due to societal pressure, you have made a tradition acquisition. This goes for buying a house, getting married, or having children. Societal norms have a big impact on how we think, whether we like it or not. I do not look down on people who made the decision to get married and/or have children. If that is what they truly want in life, more power to them. I wish them success. However, those who get married and have children simply because it’s expected of them without questioning whether they really want it or not have been duped into making a tradition acquisition. I leave you one of her absurd quotes: “Single men have never been civilization’s most responsible actors; they continue to be more troubled and less successful than men who deliberately choose to become husbands and fathers.”

I, for one, do not need marriage and children to tell me I’ve grown up. There are many successful people who live perfectly happy lives without either. Don’t let this author or anyone else ever pressure you to conform just because it’s expected of you.

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