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Why Are Young Men No Longer Solid Providers?

3 ¾ min

Syndicated columnist Carolyn Hax recently published an interesting online conversation she had with some of her readers. The conversation revolved around the 27-year-old son (“Ron”) of one reader, who is smart, has a college degree, but works a low-end job and relies on his girlfriend to pay his bills.

Ron’s father was puzzled over this turn of events, particularly since he had raised his son to have a “strong work ethic.” As such, he wondered if he should confront his son about the turn his life had taken.

To my surprise, this concerned father was jumped on from all angles. “Absolutely do not confront him!” was the collective cry. He is being creative, one commenter implied. Another suggested that “househusband” is a perfectly legitimate role for an unmarried young man to play. Meanwhile, another cautioned against holding young adults to high expectations.

If you read these opinions wondering if you were entering the twilight zone, then you’re not alone. Ron’s father seems to have sound instincts: he wants his son to have goals, be ambitious, and provide for a family. Yet Ron’s father is excoriated for having these ideals. Indeed, it appears that the genre of young-man-in-Mom’s-basement is no longer looked down upon but is in fact extolled as a viable career choice.

How did we get to this point?

There are a number of ways to answer that question, but I think author Ralph Moody does it best.

Moody, the author of the famous Little Britches series, grew up in the early 20th century amongst the Coloradan ranchers. From his father he learned honesty, hard work, and perseverance. He put these lessons to good use when his father died and Ralph became the head of the family at age 11. Moody explains the situation:

“When I was a boy on the ranch, I used to look forward to the day when I’d own my own cattle and horses and land; when I’d have my own home, a wife to make that home, and children to run out to meet me as I came in from the fields. By the time I was eleven, I was very proud of being in the livestock business. I couldn’t have horses and cattle, so I had rabbits. I bred the best ones so as to improve my stock, and traded the others or sold them for meat. …

Lately, there seems to be a quite different outlook. A little while ago I was talking with a friend about my feelings in the matter. I told him that I thought we’d raise better citizens in this country if people still had to scramble for a living as we used to when I was a boy. Then I told him a bit about the way we made our living after my father died; that there were six of us, and that I became the man of the family when I was eleven. I told him that we all did every sort of work we could find; that we never had any outside help, were never hungry, always happy, and that we’d all been successful and had successful families. …

Our family was not unusual. There were, and still are, thousands of other families in this country who are facing the same sort of situations without complaint, and who have not been misled by the political cry that they are underprivileged.”

Moody grew up in a different world than we know today. A world in which entitlement was frowned upon. A world which placed straightforward goals of home and family in front of its young people. And a world in which working hard and providing for oneself were counted a privilege and a satisfying challenge.

Would our young people be happier and better situated if this was still the case? Is there still a place for high expectations and a strong work ethic like Moody learned and practiced?


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Annie Holmquist

Annie Holmquist

Annie Holmquist is the editor of Intellectual Takeout. When not writing or editing, she enjoys reading, gardening, and time with family and friends.

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Ridiculous comparing early-to-mid 20th Century culture to early 21st culture. Its wonderful to see women having choices; likewise, men have woken up & freed themselves from unfair, burdensome cultural norms & expectations. Men dont want or need to get married, start families, or do anything else they dont want to for that matter. Interesting how this article pines for ‘the good ol days’ when it comes to mens assigned responsibilities, yet glaringly omits returning to the old roles, expectations for women back in the 40s 50s 60s. Sorry my friend, the genies out of the bottle for BOTH genders and aint going back ever. Thank God.


Ah, yes, in “freeing themselves from unfair, burdensome cultural norms & expectations”, instead of marrying and having families, they father children and refuse to share any responsibilities. Regardless of anything, if men want to make those choices...they need to deal with the consequences, instead of inflicting those consequences onto someone else. In the article’s case..the father.
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Crackers mate
There’s truth in what you say. The end result of the disappearance of families, however, is the extinction of the human race! The feminist left has succeeded in its goal of freeing women from men. Men have discovered that their hard work, desire to protect their women and children and to build a stable family are of no value and can be wiped away in the stroke of a Court order. Many men have, therefore, decided to let the women to it. Men keep their money and pay for sex. Life’s good!
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Jim Bancroft
The article starts right, and is worthy of a 10 page essay. Men are traditionally the bread winner because men are commanded to be that bread winner. . Gen 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. Gen 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life; Gen 3:18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; Gen 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return. Gen 3:20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. . We were given roles to fulfill and our personal natures reflect this. It is a bad thing that a man fails to fulfill this role, and the history of the world proves women prefer a man who acts like a man while she acts like a loving wife. . Society has tried to remove this and I am old enough to see women regret trying to be perfect while alone, and see men degenerate because they didn't step up and be the man who provides and live healthy lives. . The people who chastised the father in this case will not have a happy future and their children will grow up confused about how to act. . The final symptom of this failure is people, who demanded the roles be fluid or reversed as a good thing, now have biological males thinking they are literal women, and that same concern about women. . The refusal to follow God's ordained roles of men and women has brought this. . Soon, and I mean this, it will be forced upon children by parents. Oh, wait, they already do that. . .