I know the Boomers didn't raise a collection of wimpy men who think the greatest achievement of their lives is to create life with the Girl-Of-The-Moment. I know because I see those young men, in their twenties, thirties and even early forties, who are dedicated to their children.
I saw a couple just the other afternoon, at the skating rink we now attend. They were having a wonderful time with their kids, and other kids were wishing their male parents were like them.
I saw them again in various neighborhoods walking the kids for trick or treat. Some wore costumes. All seemed to be having a good time, whether they actually were or not.
I don't think it's a matter of Society giving permission to all fathers to take off and see their offspring only when it's convenient to them. There are all these men out there doing a fabulous job of being husbands and fathers, without regard to credit for their good work.
I think there are simply young women who aren't sure what qualities are found in a future husband. They are a minority, but they exist. First we, then our daughters, are picking slugs and lumps, punks, cads and losers. The Bad Boys might be very appealing when it comes to romance or perhaps aggravating the parents. It's the Good Boys, though, that you want when it's time to hopefully marry and make babies.
If that's harsh, remember that I have an ex-husband, and he is not my favorite person by a long shot. He was a very absent father, choosing to parent when it's convenient to him, then boo-hooing when things didn't go his way. He left us when my older kids were 4 and 3, giving our marriage a whopping 6 years when the ink dried on the divorce decree, gone long before than. In that time, he'd been unfaithful no less than 12 times, of which I have proof. He told me he wanted the divorce as I was drawing his bath. His excuse was that marriage was too confining, and he didn't think he'd really had the adolescence he required.
So, I've been there, done that, regretfully.
This isn't really aimed at grandparents today, at least not in the sense of dealing with the adult children who've abdicated parenting. This is a preemptive strike, as it were, to attempt to prevent future generations from making the blunders that lead to baby-daddies, divorce court, dead beat dads, and really, the vicious cycle that has grandparents raising more grandchildren than at any time in history.
I am expecting mothers everywhere to tell their unmarried daughters, young and old, but even their married and divorced ones, or the ones with baby-daddies, that there is a method to the madness of choosing a spouse. The days of getting married right out of high school are long over, but making babies younger and younger is not.
Therefore, please young women, and mothers, be aware, of the following when choosing a bed partner, a boyfriend, or even a mate:
- MEN ARE DIFFERENT. They are not harder versions of ourselves with bigger feet and less brains. They think differently than women.
- MEN ACT DIFFERENTLY. Thank goodness! Yes, they tend to mature slowly in comparison with women, but women who want men really want them to be different. All the jokes on Facebook and YouTube, all the country songs about guys, they have a ring of truth to them.
- DON'T TRICK THEM. It is simply wrong to take advantage of people, whichever gender you are. If they are of an age where they don't think as quickly on their feet as women, please don't trick them into anything, whether that's paying for your meal or lying to them about birth control.
- BE HONEST. A pimp, drug dealer, thief or sneak doesn't make a good father, and in time doesn't make a good boyfriend or husband. A man who will cheat on his current wife or girlfriend will cheat on you. It's hard to raise a child from prison, and that's usually what happens as men of lesser caliber live their lives. You still might find a jerk in church, school or through friends, but you stand less of a chance that way.
- GET YOUR OWN SKILLS AND KEEP THEM UP-TO-DATE. You can dream of being a stay-at-home mom. But have some skills, just in case. This doesn't only apply to dating and mating with the Bad Boys. Good men have been known on occasion to die young.
- DON'T GIVE TOO MUCH OF YOURSELF AWAY. Sex is an issue, but that's not what I mean in this instance. It's one thing to be a good hostess, a good sport about jokes, mature about disappointment, ready to share one's life history when the time is right. It's another entirely to wait on a man hand-and-foot, be the constant butt of his jokes, the one who constantly sacrifices, and allow him to use your life history against you.
- TAKE YOUR TIME. As I stated earlier, people no longer get married at 18, right out of high school. The maturity factor simply isn't there for most young people. Think about putting off serious boy-girl dating until at least 18, maybe longer. And if you think you've found Mr. Right, or at least Mr. Possible, take your time before committing to sex AND marriage. Ten years might be too long, but nowadays, six months is much too short a time to know each other before marriage without being over 25. Seriously. Take your time.
- KEEP YOUR JEANS ZIPPED AND ON YOUR HIPS, LADIES. Don't tease. Don't unzip. I'd say don't unzip until you have vows said and a ring on your finger. You are worth the wait. Boomers, particularly the later version, always seemed out for a sexual conquest. We were really, most of us, very insecure. Have confidence, and wait. You will save yourself an awful lot of grief.
- MOTHERS, SAY SOMETHING WHEN GIRLS ARE SMALL. Yes, your 3 year old is too small to hear the intimate details of procreation. She is never too young to hear that Daddy loves Mommy if it's true. Your five year old is not too young to know that babies should be made when Mommy loves Daddy and when they are married, and that the baby grows in Mommy's body. Your 10 year old daughter is not too young to know that once she starts her period, she could get pregnant, and a good young man who works hard is worth five of the flashy ones who want to take her places and buy her things but really want nothing but to have their way with her. It doesn't start too early, that each little girl will grow into a woman, that she is of infinite worth, and babies too early are blessings, but blessings that are much more work than having them in a marriage with a competent male when a woman is older. If Mom is not on the scene, substitute Grandma and Grandpa, even if Grandpa is dead.
- MOTHERS, SAY SOMETHING EVEN IF THEY ROLL THEIR EYES AND THREATEN TO NEVER ALLOW YOU TO SEE THE GRANDKIDS AGAIN. Slugs are slugs, pimps are pimps, thieves are thieves. Yes, people can change. It is unlikely and requires a great force of self-will. If she's dating a slug, SAY SOMETHING. If she won't listen to coached terms, spell it out for her. Yes, her feelings will be hurt. Would you rather raise more grandchildren?