In less than a month’s time I’ll be “giving my daughter away” in marriage – though, of course, in today’s society my consent or cooperation in the matter would be completely inconsequential if my daughter was so inclined.
As far as prospective sons-in-law go, her beau is great. He does his best to love God and neighbor, and is a kind, intelligent, considerate, witty and handsome young man. I have no worries. Except for that last little bit there at the end: “young man”. It’s not like she’s robbing the cradle or anything but, as the insurance companies well know, any male under the age of 30 is by nature a risky prospect. Young and Man, means having been whacked twice, hard, with the Stupid-Stick.
It’s not for nothing that the Psalmist asks God to forgive the sins of his youth. I know, I’ve been there. And I’m not even thinking of the “sins” we most commonly associate with young men, the “drink, smoke, chew and going with girls who do” kind of thing. No, I’m thinking more along the lines of the insensitivity and impulsiveness, the assurance that one is always right, and the firm knowledge that the world – including the laws of physics – bend around my desires. (I’m a real fan of the Dutch drinking laws: you can drink alcohol at 16, so you get two years of practice to see what it does to you before – at 18 – you can get a driver’s license. Learning about the effects of alcohol by falling off your bike is a lot less dangerous than being drunk behind the wheel of a 1000 kilo projectile.)
Ah, but young men are so noble and inspiring too, aren’t they. Think of all those soldiers, in war after war, who dutifully laid down their lives to free others from tyranny. Think of the energy, creativity, and optimism of youth that has been channelled into so many good causes. Where would the world be if the only men to be found were jaded and old? Or simply hesitant and middle-aged, like me.
I don’t always see eye to eye with the young men my daughters bring home or keep up with on the web. They say and do some pretty immature and uninformed things sometimes. It will take time to learn that it is generally more important to be kind, than to be right. But… I sure like them, nonetheless! They remind me of how I used to be, in both their noble and their ignoble qualities. I love their energy, their passion, their enthusiastic love of my daughters, their desire to learn and to do right.
Renata just saw the title of this blog and burst into Village People’s “Young man! There’s no need to feel down! I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground!….”
I purpose to rejoice in the young men I find around me now. I never had the opportunity to raise any myself, but I’m sure glad others did, and that they did a good job of it.