Think of me as your uncle.

Not your dad or your bishop, but your uncle. The one with the calloused hands who belches at the dinner table.

I’m going to speak to you directly and candidly, in a manner your parents or church leaders might be too polite to do. I’m going to tell you what you need to hear, man to man.

Get off the dime.

Grow up and get on with life. You’re not in high school anymore, so stop acting like it.

You’re falling into a trap that could hurt you for the rest of your life. You’re not growing up. You’re not quite making the transition from boy to man.

With different people it’s different things. Some linger in college semester after semester. Some live with their parents long after they should have left. Some bounce from job to job. Some remain single year after year. Some do them all.

And all are wrong.

All are failing.

See, you’re wired in a certain way, to become a man. A man who has a wife and a job and a home and some kids. There is an instinct to mature, to mate, and to be self-reliant. To be the head of a household. To provide for and protect a family of your own creation. That’s how you’re built.

But some guys become retarded in that process, probably out of fear and selfishness, and they act like they’re 16 well into their 20s or 30s. Some guys are encouraged to be that way by domineering or over-protective parents – usually their mother. Sometimes in the name of family closeness or being helpful, parents will strangle the independence and manliness out of their sons.

You can’t let that happen do you.

You’ve got to stand up on your own two feet and be a man.

Let’s start with college. A bachelor’s degree is four years. If it takes you more than four years, you’re wrong. College is a preparation, not a parking place. And it’s a lot of money. Not just the money your family pays or borrows, but the financial aid taxpayers give you, and the huge amount that is spent by the citizens or church that own and underwrite your college. So go to college, study hard and graduate. Don’t play this game of change your major over and over again, becoming a professional student.

And don’t live with your parents.

If you are in your 20s, move out. Men don’t live with their parents, boys do.

It’s not your dad’s responsibility to feed you and clothe you and put a roof over your head. It’s your responsibility. And it’s for your own good. Your mom and dad don’t need to learn how to provide for a family, you do.

Of course it will be harder for you to do it. Of course there won’t be anybody to do your wash or cook your food or clean up after you – or pay the rent and electric and phone and cable. There won’t be anybody but you. And nothing but that can teach you self-reliance.

You need to move out. You need your own place and space, and so do your parents. You should not selfishly burden them. Nature has designed you to move out and set up housekeeping on your own. You will never be successful or happy until you do.

And you need to get married.

Let me repeat: You need to get married.

Put down the Harry Potter, forget the “group dates,” stop hanging out with the guys and go find a woman. And be honest enough with yourself to know that if you can’t find one it’s because you’re not looking or you’re not looking hard enough.

Here’s a news flash: If you get married, you can have sex. Sex is very, very good. Don’t let yourself get so tamed and sissified that you forget that. The desire for physical intimacy is so great not to tempt you, but to urge you to take upon yourself the responsibilities of home and family. You have desires for a reason, and if condition yourself to completely ignore what they say to you, you will end up an odd old maid.

And you weren’t born for that.

Some spoiled young men will hold the women they date to an impossible physical standard. Fat guys who are searching for a fashion model, guys who wouldn’t do a thing to improve their own looks insist that the women the go out with go to great lengths to make themselves pretty. Those guys are losers.

And so are the ones who are just going about life waiting for fate to intervene to bring them Mrs. Right. That’s nonsense. In life you go after things, you don’t wait for them to come to you. Nobody’s going to offer you a dream job, nobody’s going to pay your bills and no beautiful woman is going to walk up and ask you out.

You’ve got to search and pursue.

And you’ve got to be smart enough to realize that a decent young woman is what you need to help you grow into the man you’re supposed to be. The odds are the women your age are further down the road of maturity than you are. That’s how nature made it. And the longer you fly solo the longer you’ll go without the support and love of a wonderful woman.

And the longer you will deny some wonderful woman your love and support, and the happiness which can only come from home and family.

And don’t you dare give me this crud about you want to get your schooling finished first or your career established. That’s all nonsense. Nature made you to marry and start your family in your 20s – your early 20s – and the odds are your little education or job-of-the-day pale in comparison to the significance and usefulness you could provide as a husband and father. Don’t delay the stuff that really counts while you pursue the stuff that really doesn’t.

I’m not trying to chew you out, and I’m not making fun of you.

I’m telling you how it is.

I’m warning you.

Because this extended boyhood you’re lingering in is a trap. It will become a comfortable place for you, and as time passes it will become harder for you to escape – and less likely that you will do so.

And you will become more odd and unhappy with each passing month and year.

There is a time and a season for everything in life. A time to be a boy, and a time to be a man.

But you’re not supposed to be a boy anymore.

You’re supposed to be a man.

And you need to start acting like it.

- by Bob Lonsberry © 2004