We need to stop referring to young men as boys or babies. Men will often turn to their adult son and say, “That’s my boy”. On the other hand, women will say, “That’s my baby!” I believe both terms are very toxic for adult men because in this world, after your 18th birthday, you are considered a man whether you like it or not. With that title, it doesn’t make any sense to call your adult son a boy because he’ll never grow up and blame others. Why? Because you aren’t even giving him the title of being a man.
In the movie, “Boyz n the Hood” I remember when Furious Styles (Lawrence Fishburne) was talking on the phone to Tre’s (Cuba Gooding Jr.) mother Reva (Angela Bassett about when Tre was coming home to see Reva. Furious told Reva, “He ain’t a baby anymore!” in an angry tone which she became defensive. As the two continued to argue as Tre tuned out the whole conversation.
I sat there watching that scene and just said to myself, “Reva still thinks Tre is a baby. He’s in South Central, LA fighting gun shots trying to get an education but still in her mind, he’s a baby.” Many mothers still keep this mentality because in her eyes the time has just gone by so fast. One minute he was just a baby she was holding in her arms after childbirth and now he’s an adult. But what she has to know is that the baby treatment can only go so far in life. He needs that title of being a man so he can become a productive citizen in society because without it, he’s just a lost little boy.
Which is why I’m glad that Tre was raised by both his parents so he can get a balance of male and female interactions. WIthout seeing how the two interacted he would have ended up like Doughboy (Ice Cube), in and out jail desperate for male guidance instead of female degradation from his own mother.
Doughboy was treated like a little baby by his mother (Ms. Baker) a scorned single mother who hated men. She’d tell Doughboy, “You ain’t S***, Your daddy ain’t S***, and you ain’t gonna’ be S***.” However, whenever it came to Ricky (Morris Chestnut) she treated him like a young man. Ricky and Doughboy also have different fathers which also made it harder for Doughboy because his “birth father” probably wasn’t around much or just referred to him as a little boy or not even acknowledged him at all. So whenever he had to take direction from a man or when it came to respecting women, he never learned how to.
It was so disheartening to watch because she didn’t treat them both like young men. It was very apparent that she loathed Doughboy’s presence but praised Ricky’s all because Ricky has more potential to be an NFL football prospect.
When young men are treated like babies what happens is they will act like babies. Think about it, when we think about babies we think, “They’re so cute and adorable.” But when we think of adult men, the tone changes because men have responsibilities to uphold such as being accountable, becoming leaders, building wealth for themselves, and future family members. However, how can that happen when an 18-year-old is still treated like a baby, fed everything, still called a baby, never having to do anything around the house, hold himself accountable, or not even pay any bills. Exactly, he will still act like a little boy!
I always say to my male friends no matter their age, “What’s going on man!” to encourage and boost their ego. I want that guy to feel like a man even if he doesn’t have a job or live with his parents. I don’t care. He still needs to feel like a man. In today’s world, so many young men don’t even feel like men at all. They just feel like little boys due to how they were raised. Which is not okay because they’ll just give up easily and say, “Oh well, I didn’t have time. You know how it is. Sometimes you just get tired.” These are the kinds of things that little boys do when they haven’t been shown the ways of man hood.
Lastly, manhood is built on morals and principles. You may be tired but you still need to come into work and pull an overtime shift for your family, your word is your bond and without it no one can trust you, and most importantly, you need to be an inspiration for others to look up to.
Watch Boyz n the hood: https://www.netflix.com/title/328438