by Jim Layne
Everywhere I go these days I see a lot of flesh. The braless, spaghetti strap tank top wearing twenty-somethings are everywhere and oft accompanied by young men with flat billed caps and oversized trousers. The pithy sayings on their shirts evoke a variety of emotions, none of them good. I must be getting old because when I see these fashion faux pas I’m not inclined to find it trendy or attractive, I only want to inquire the whereabouts of the t-shirt that belongs under the tank top and offer a hank of rope to the beltless boy wonder.
I hear women for 22 to 35 years in age complain that men their age are a bunch of jokers. They report that their boyfriends don’t pay attention to them. That all these guys want to do is play video games. I hear this from married and single women, with and without children. Perhaps these gals should sell the game systems and buy these young men belts or suspenders to hold up their oversized trousers.
It isn’t just the twenty-somethings. In our old neighborhood, the roving meat market of teenaged flesh roamed the streets at all hours. Abhorrent behavior and broadcasting the filthiest language I’ve heard since leaving the barracks. As if that weren’t bad enough, teens rebel and act out in the absence of their parents attempting to prove that all our worst fears are indeed valid. The tragedy comes when you count the number of pregnant bellies that belong to girls too young to drive a car.
All the time I’m seeing statistics that say fifty percent of first marriages fail, seventy five percent of second marriages, and there are more single parent homes than all of those combined. I read an article that explained that more and more women were opting to have a child without the entanglement of marriage. This strikes a nerve, but considering the option of being strapped raising a child and a foul mouthed gangster wanna be who can’t keep his underwear from showing, I can’t say I blame them.
Young women are allowing themselves to be duped by young men who have espoused what they’ve seen on the big screen for lack of better role models. These young men create more single mothers who must raise their children alone in an economy that demands two incomes for survival. These young people have had way too much free time on their hands for way too long.
People I talk to on a regular basis say that I am too harsh in my criticism of young people. That I hold them up to too high a standard, that I am distrustful of teenage girls and too hard on teenaged boys. My views are what they are because I was a teenage boy. If my view is incorrect or my distrust misplaced would someone please step forward pat my hand and tell me that it’s all a figment of my overactive imagination.
I implore parents to want more for your children. Young women, don’t sell the whole package in your dress. Don’t care about the next date, or the jobless thug who promises you that ridiculous fairytale in exchange for a few minutes’ pleasure, place greater value on yourself and want more than a punk in droopy drawers’ offers. Young men it is time to put childish things away, pull your life up by the bootstraps, secure your pants and man up.
Clothes don’t make the man, but they go a long way to making an impression. Let your actions speak louder than your words and clean up your language. If you want to be taken seriously act like it. Take responsibility for your life and your actions. Begin building a legacy your children will be proud of. True wealth isn’t monetary it is security in the knowledge that your reach extends beyond your grasp.
Jim Layne is husband, father and veteran. He firmly believes in God and family first, Duty, Honor, Courage and a lot of other old fahioned ideals. A self confessed news junky, he distills the rhetoric down to its essential salts and serves it up in plain spoken terms.