Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Feeling 45 ... Going on 15

The other day I was driving down the road, flipping through radio stations, when I heard the line, "Feelin' all of 45, goin' on 15." I hadn't heard that line before and was intrigued. The DJ announced the song was "W.O.L.D" by 1970s' singer-songwriter Harry Chapin.

Not familiar with the tune, I researched it and found the lyrics. In the song Chapin described a man who made a living as a local radio DJ. The DJ married, had two children and then left his family in search for better things. The song chronicles the lonesomeness the DJ finds after years of self-destruction, getting fired and hitting the bottle. He finally ends up at 45, trying to be 15, looking for something bigger in his life. He appears to be calling his ex-wife and asking her for a second chance.

"W.O.L.D" joined Chapin's song, "Cat's in the Cradle," in painting a picture of men as self-absorbed, self-centered and ready to abandon those things standing in the way of their freedom: their wives, their children, their responsibilities.

That was 40 years ago.

What about today? Are men still so self-absorbed and self-centered? Have men learned from the lessons of their predecessors? Are men further along the learning curve in respect to self-sacrifice and paying attention to others' needs? Many aspects of contemporary culture and society seem to reflect that Harry Chapin's songs would be as applicable today, as they were in the 1970s.

I tend to disagree. I see lots of young men stepping up to provide for their futures, their families and their responsibilities. But, of course, this is based on my personal experience.

What do you think?

Take a minute and send an e-mail to mensnetwork@lhm.org, giving us your observations on the matter. What is your take on the state of affairs concerning younger men, their preoccupations, their motivations and their involvement with their wives and families?

How would you rate the level of involvement today's younger men show toward their marital and family obligations?

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