What makes a truly happy boy? Who should a boy look up to and copy? Are there any "real boys" left in the world today? Or are our fellows destined to become effeminate, out-of-condition weaklings? Read this vital article on how you can experience an exciting, fun filled life and learn to be the right kind of boy.
WALK down any street in America or Britain. See that couple just ahead — which one is the girl? Stop at a traffic light. Is that a boy or a girl driving the Chevelle or the Triumph next to you? Maybe it's a French poodle. You just can't tell any more, can you? The time-honored, traditional position of the sexes is giving way to radical new ideas. No longer is the "clean cut" American boy a fellow with a closely cropped butch or flat-top, button-down sport shirt and ivy league slacks. No longer is he "bombing" around in a ten-year-old Ford or Chev which he bored and stroked, customized the body and hand rubbed the lacquer. Instead, the "boy next door" — the average Joe — is more apt to have longer hair than his girl friend, use more hair spray on it than she does and spend more time combing it. (Often, it is true, neither do ANYTHING to their hair.) Chances are slim he knows much about what is under the sleek hood of his fastback Mustang. After all, Dad foots the bills and buys the gas. Our "average Joe" might also have real difficulty changing a flat tire on that Mustang. Perhaps he'd even be panting before the lugs were tightened!
Is Youth to Blame?
Obviously none of you fellows wants to be mistaken for A GIRL.! What a ghastly thought. And surely none of you consciously DESIRES to be a sallow-faced, sunken-chested, four-eyed wonder. But in all honesty, fellows, you know literally dozens of your acquaintances who are exactly that. Where has true masculinity gone? Are there any real MEN preparing for the future? Or is our world destined to be filled with "ginky" effeminates? Only young people themselves, and their parents, can answer these questions. It is high time we realize just what a boy should be. It is time to find out how to live and grow up to take your place in YOUR society as a real man. Youth has been neglected — all but forgotten until they riot or "turn on." "Give the kid a pacifier, an erector set, send him to a movie, buy him a car — just get him out of my hair," comes the indifferent complaint of way too many parents. Yes, our homes are failing our youth. Our schools are failing our youth. And even the churches have miserably failed our most precious national resource — our youth. None of the established national entities has provided answers to the burning questions of youth. But there are answers! And we are going to see- in this series of articles directed to you, the young people of the United States, Great Britain, and the world (and your parents) -just how life is to be lived and what you can do to achieve success in reaching adulthood.
You Have to Grow Up
Like it or not — you have to grow up! It is absolutely impossible to suddenly "freeze" your age. You can't eternally remain 13, 15 or 19. Sooner or later you will become thirty — you will be "the establishment"! And that time will come a lot sooner than you think. But kids today see no purpose in reaching thirty. In settling into the freeway-fighting, constantly competitive, two-martini-for-lunch bunch. It just isn't their bag! To offer their blood on the altar of a war which no one will explain to them seems futile. Faced with seemingly monumental problems, they turn to avenues of escape — drugs, music, sex demonstrating or rioting. All this unrest can't help but affect you teen-agers. No matter how "straight" you are, you will be influenced by those who are on dope, demonstrating, and openly, militantly deploring the establishment. After all, the militants are the ones who set the pace and dictate the styles. Fellows will let their hair grow out so they won't appear odd or out of place. Girls will freeze in sub-zero weather as long as the micro-mini is the style. It simply goes to prove that teens have a natural desire to conform — even if it is conforming to non-conformity. Our young people want and need someone to copy — to look up to. But most are looking to their contemporaries, to the around, any way to be with the "in" crowd.
"Be Like My Old Man — You Gotta Be Crazy!"
More than anything else, boys today have no goal — no purpose. There are none to set the pace from the establishment. How many of you teen-agers reading this article would like to mature to become exactly the type of man your father is? For a blessed few the answer may be positive. But for some reason, the majority of today's fathers are not catching their son's fancy. So the sons go searching for someone else to look up to, to emulate. It's a case of the missing example. But whether or not you have found someone you want to pattern your life after, there are examples that every boy should want to emulate. So let's ask again — what does make a boy? We will deal in this article with four overall ingredients in the life of a vibrant, happy, masculine boy. There are examples in each area — good examples. They are areas which must be dealt with before a boy grows into true manhood. Perhaps you didn't realize it, but the whole purpose of being a boy IS TO BECOME A MAN! Here's how!
A short time ago, a group of teenagers was interviewed on television about modern dating. Several of us sitting there watching the interviews were all struck by the lack of ability the teens had to express themselves. Many simply could not express simple statements of fact. One of the interviews went something like this: Interviewer: "What do you think of our modern dating practices?" Seventeen-year-old white male: "Uh, well... It's like, man, uh, well, I mean I think that... uh, man... it's fine to date and, uh, well, it's like, you know what I mean. It's like OK with me, you know." This young man, sadly enough, was representative of a critical lack in basic education in today's youth. You would think with the sudden acceleration of knowledge in the world, with men walking on the surface of the moon in elaborate space suits that there would be no knowledge gap. But there is! To develop through the teen-age years into successful manhood, you cannot shirk education. In last month's article, "HOW to Be a Teenager," we showed you that the foundation of happy teen-age life is God's Word, the Bible. In the Bible there are a number of individuals who demonstrated the importance of education. Last time we referred to King Solomon a great deal. Let's notice how he realized the need for education. "In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, ask what I shall give thee" (II Chron. 1:7). What would you ask for if God offered you anything you wanted? A sports car, a million dollars, a perfect wife? Solomon asked for none of these. Instead, Solomon said to God, "Thou hast shewed great mercy unto David my father, and hast made me to reign in his stead. Now, O Lord God, let Thy promise unto David my father be established... Give me now WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this Thy people, that is so great?" Rather awesome, isn't it? A son who wanted to be just like "Dad," who would rather have wisdom than riches. And since his choice so pleased God, He granted Solomon fabulous riches also (verse 12). And what about Jesus Christ's example? Now, wait a minute. Don't get too excited. We don't mean the long-haired, effeminate, hippie-type 'Christ" you might have heard so much about. We mean the tanned, well-muscled, aggressive MASCULINE Christ whose very presence commanded respect from the leaders of His day. When He was only twelve years old, He was separated from Joseph and Mary and couldn't be found for three days. When they did find Him, He was not out heckling Roman soldiers or roaring around the Jerusalem streets in a stolen chariot. "And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the DOCTORS, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were ASTONISHED at His UNDERSTANDING and ANSWERS" (Luke 2:46-47). These two examples readily illustrate how vital seeking education is in God's sight. Both these men were young, but both had a desire for true education. True education isn't just memorizing facts and equations. It begins with a realization that the Word of God is the foundation of all knowledge. This true education with its proper basis equips you to take a responsible position in tomorrow's world. While you're getting an education, get the real foundation you need. Don't be afraid to read and study the Bible! God calls His Word a SWORD — when you pick it up and become familiar with it you'll find out why! Don't be chicken and fear the reactions of your friends. That's a challenge! Have you got the guts to read for yourself about the guys who had the guts to make history in the pages of the Old Testament? Why don't you give it a try? Pick up a Bible and start reading it — it won't hurt you. Try Joshua. Even Proverbs and Ecclesiastes make excellent, interesting and helpful reading — and they're practical. There's a heap of knowledge there to help you succeed as a teen-ager, to be popular, to help you avoid mistakes, make money, live life to the full! Try it — we dare you! Education and knowledge isn't something for sissies and bespectacled pantywaists. It is one of the most vital tools of an aggressive, masculine fellow with a real goal and purpose in life. Learn to take advantage of your high school and college classes. Learn to maturely sift out truth from error. Take advantage of travel opportunities to broaden your horizons. Talk to those who have had more experience than you. Strive for balance — be interested in everything — which brings us to point number two.
Top mental agility is impossible with a degenerate, soft body. Yet recent tests have uncovered some alarming trends in our nation's youth. While the time for the mile run continues to drop, the pole vault record keeps getting higher. While our football and basketball players get bigger and tougher, the MAJORITY of our teen-age fellows are getting softer. Look around your high school or college sometime. Notice how many of the boys are "rubberwristed" and have dainty little walks. Many of these fellows would really find it tough to chin themselves or do a couple of pushups. And that's a shame! Your teen-age years are the absolute prime years of your life. To be out of shape, or skin-and-bones, or chubby, or weak or effeminate is a disgrace! Remember earlier we referred to Solomon who wanted to be just like his father, David. Well, David was just a boy when he came up against Goliath. Even Goliath disdained him with a "Why, he's just a red-haired, scrawny little kid" (I Sam. 17:42). But David was no sissy or weakling. He had spent long days and nights with his father's sheep. He'd had to battle off wild animals and had even slain a lion and a bear. "And I [David] went out after him (the lion), and smote him, and delivered it [a lamb] out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him" (I Samuel 17:35). No, David was anything but timorous and out of condition. He was strong and deadly accurate with his slingshot. He'd spent hours perfecting his ability with the sling. He was courageous and athletic — a real boy! Now before any of you conjures up the idea of rushing out and tangling with wild animals, let us say we discourage any of you doing anything rash! But you can take an active part in various sports and athletic programs that can get and keep you in shape. Not only will it reap immediate benefits, but will make you a more balanced, well-rounded person. At our three Ambassador College campuses we have extensive physical fitness programs. We play basketball, tennis, soccer, softball, golf, volleyball, lift weights, run track and field events, swim, and water ski just to name a few. We keep alert and fit. Even our faculty participates. It might interest you to know that our faculty basketball team has won the intramural basketball tournament both at Pasadena and at Big Sandy in past years. Our faculty set the pace even in athletic events. One thing you should keep in mind, you don't have to be a big "bruiser" to he an athlete. Not everyone can "dunk" a basketball or toss the shot fifty feet, but everyone can find a sport which fits him. Everyone can profit from sports, develop co-ordination and stimulate mental agility. Sports activity is a second key to being a successful boy.
A third ingredient of the right type of boy deals with the field of music. Music is a big part of every teenager's life. Almost everyone of you has had a song running through your mind sometime today. It might have been one of the "top ten" or an "oldie but goodie," but it affected your life. You listen to music hours a day — in the car, on the juke box, on television, on your stereo and on the radio. With the advent of transistor radios, music has become a phenomenal ingredient in today's young peoples' lives. Lyrics of songs affect you, too. Often you'll sit around singing the words of the latest release of one of your favorite artists. Whether you realize it or not, the philosophies propagated by many of these songs affect you. Songs, lyrics, music in general, create a mood. Music can inspire you, or make you sad, melancholy or blue. It can also carry you into a futile, despondent, don't-give-a-hoot attitude — if you let it. And all of you will have to agree that some of today's songs are downright VULGAR! It doesn't take much "worldly wisdom" to discern what "Light My Fire" is about, does it? You might like the tune or the beat, but the message is crass. Or what about the one where a talented male vocalist pleads with a young girl to "get out of his mind" because she's "too young" to participate in premarital sex. There's no mention of the fact that fornication is breaking one of that she is too young. Don't think for a minute that music does not affect your life. It does. But what should we do? Suddenly rise up in righteous indignation, smash all radios, burn our albums, imprison all vocalists and rush off to a monastery? GOD'S TEN COMMANDMENTS — Only Of course NOT! Ambassador College Right music is good. You need to learn appreciation for the right kinds of Music at the beach-a part of good balance. music. And that does not imply that all popular music is bad. We happen to enjoy a certain amount of pop music. But by the same token, we do not intend to wallow in a lot of musical swill. At Ambassador College we are recapturing the true values in music. We have extensive programs in various musical fields. Our college band and vocal groups have become proficient — well known and respected in the communities around the college campuses. In addition to more formal musical presentations, there's nothing like a good sing-along on the beach, or on a picnic, to cap off a group activity. And you can't sing along if you don't know how to sing — or if someone in the group can't strum a few chords on the guitar or pluck a few notes on the old banjo. We encourage those who come to Ambassador with musical ability to develop that ability. There are several groups who have gotten together to play for many different types of activities. They are not long-haired, hopped-up hoods, but fellows and girls who enjoy playing and singing. They prove that music doesn't have to be a deafening, electronic nightmare bathed in "pot-smoking" and psychedelic lights to be enjoyed. Many of God's true servants have been talented musicians. David for example was a "cunning and skillful" musician. In I Samuel 16 we find that David as a young boy was chosen to play for the king of his nation. The King James Version of the Bible names the instrument that David played as a "harp." However, if you check a Bible dictionary you will find it was not what we call a harp today. Instead it was more like what we label a guitar. He was good at playing it. He practiced and became proficient at manipulating the strings — and he was a man after God's own heart. He was a balanced fellow, and the proper use of music helped him achieve that balance. You can learn and apply the right principles of good music. Obviously, everyone cannot become a brilliant musician overnight. But you can develop whatever ability you have in these areas. Almost anyone can learn to plunk around on a uke or a guitar and have a "ball" doing it. Appreciation for the right kind of music and developing your musical abilities is a third point in becoming a balanced young man.
IV. Learn to Work
There is an old Jewish proverb that states, "He who does not teach his son a trade might as well teach him to steal." Perhaps everyone who isn't taught to work won't end up as a hardened, armed bandit, but there is tremendous truth to this old saying. Precious few of us in this current generation have really been taught to work. Instead we've been allowed to evolve into various jobs — without proper training and background. Learning to work and teaching young people a trade is a Biblical principle. The book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, is full of accounts of teenagers out working. And what about David again? Where was he when he slew the lion and the bear? Out in the fields working, wasn't he? NOW some of you are going to say, "But my father won't teach me" or "I live in an area where job opportunities are limited." If that is your case, let's take a look at someone who really had limited job opportunities — he was a slave! Joseph was the son of a wealthy Middle Eastern cattleman and sheep rancher. His father Jacob (who later was renamed Israel) specially favored Joseph above his eleven other sons. As a result of this favoritism and Joseph's lack of prudence, his other brothers plotted against their younger brother, who was seventeen at the time. One day Joseph's father sent him out to see how his brothers were doing with the flocks. The older brothers decided to kill Joseph when he arrived. However, through a series of events they ended up selling him as a slave to a caravan headed for Egypt (Genesis 37:1-28). In Egypt he was cold to a man named Potiphar who was the captain of Pharaoh's guard. (Rather limited vocational opportunities, wouldn't you say?) But amazingly enough, Joseph rose from being a slave at age 17 to SECOND IN COMMAND OF THE NATION OF EGYPT when thirty years old. (Gen. 39-41.) True enough, God did guide Joseph and grant him special blessings. But Joseph did his part. Even when he was a slave and in prison on a trumped-up attempted rape charge, he was diligently applying the laws of success. In each case he WORKED at whatever job he was given, diligently and conscientiously. He also depended on God to bless him and God did — abundantly. God can bless you, too. But he expects you to exert effort. There is no question that it takes effort and determination to learn to work. But it is a rewarding and fulfilling thing which bears abundant fruit. We've known fellows who have agreed to work for NOTHING — just to learn a trade. There are job opportunities around if you will just look. You can sack groceries, deliver papers, pump gas, do construction work in the summer or mow grass. In some of the larger, more affluent areas, there is a fortune to be made in yard work — with very little invested. Finding work is up to you. Obviously it is best if you can work with your father or someone skilled in a trade. But the important thing is not to neglect this vital part of boyhood. Realize part of growing into true manhood is learning how to work. An amazing number of our incoming students at Ambassador have never been taught how to work. In some cases various ones have not really known how to effectively use a shovel or a rake. One novice plumber hunted for almost an hour for a "pipe-stretcher"! However, they learn very rapidly when they are given a chance. We feel learning to work is such an integral part of overall education that we strongly encourage EVERY Ambassador student to work 18-20 hours a week in addition to their class responsibilities. And our students basically enjoy their work — no, not every single job, but the overall result. You, too, can enjoy and immensely profit from this sadly neglected area of every successful boy's life — learning to work.
The Whole Man
We've been able to cover in this one article only a very few basic and key principles of becoming a man — of how to be a boy. These principles, when applied, will fill up a boy's life and give him a foundation for real success when he becomes a man. Of course, every parent has a responsibility to inculcate these into his own life and child-rearing principles. The subject of how to become a man is inexhaustible — and, we're certain, many articles will follow in future years to help direct young people. You should read immediately other Ambassador College publications which will add to what has been covered in this article. If you haven't read The The Plain Truth About Child Rearing, Modern Dating, and The Seven Laws Of Success, read them immediately. Life itself is a tremendous responsibility. To find the real purpose for why we are here and then to live according to that purpose is an obligation each and every one of us has. You are finding the answers to these vital questions, and the way is being pointed out — if you will only heed.