“When Did Your MIL Come On?”

Today, across the world, it is becoming common place to attach “adult” to those who have turned 18.

In the case of most, if not all of the progressive industrialized nations, the males of those nations have lost the stepping stones of life, Rites of Passage, that help a young man to internalize his new standing in the community.

Just saying, “You’re eighteen now,” doesn’t do much for a young mans confidence.

And, “the time’s” you come up in, play a roll in it too.

When I was 18 it was expected, if you didn’t go to college, that you would get a job, get married, start a family… and move on.

My parents generation would let you crash on the couch once in awhile, as you started out, getting your feet under you, but it was also expected of you to eventually, sooner than later, to strike out, and stay out… on your own.

Today’s parents seem to have forgotten the goal of eventually having an “empty nest.”

When our three oldest had been staying with us after college, and after high school, and after getting first jobs, my wife said something horrible, just horrible…

“Hey you guys, we’re gonna start charging rent.”

BAM! They all bailed!

And having brains less than 25 years old… they made the decision to pay three times as much rent… “on their own,” as they would have had to pay to their mother.


“The prefrontal cortex coordinates higher-order cognitive processes and executive functioning. Executive functions are a set of supervisory cognitive skills needed for goal-directed behavior, including planning, response inhibition, working memory, and attention [19]. These skills allow an individual to pause long enough to take stock of a situation, assess his or her options, plan a course of action, and execute it. Poor executive functioning leads to difficulty with planning, attention, using feedback, and mental inflexibility [19], all of which could undermine judgment and decision making.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892678/

Neuroscience is getting a clearer and clearer picture of our brains all the time.

And how long it takes for it to reach it’s own full grown status.

The body that surrounds it, is “full growed,” around the age of 22-ish. Give or take, a year or two.

So, there you are, 18-22 years of age, facing the world, facing expectations from all sides… and responsible… for a kid!

“Who the heck let you be in charge of a baby?”

That’s a little joke I use.

Neuroscience points out, with the latest studies, that a brain, especially a male brain, isn’t fully developed until the age of 35.

Now, adding to a young mans undeveloped physical brain; toss in some early childhood trauma; exposure to violence; the stress caused by poverty; a minimal, or non-existent support network; and just for good measure… no community initiated Rites of Passage to make him feel included, needed, or wanted… in the words of Strother Martin’s character, “Captain,” in the 1967 classic, “Cool Hand Luke,”… you end up with…

“What we’ve got here is… failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it… well, he gets it. I don’t like it any more than you men.”

Do you know what a MIL is?

What if I tell you, you could find one on the dash of your car? Got a clue yet?

What if I draw (provide) you a picture?

Yeah! That light.

“When did your MIL come on?”

I have some experience working on cars. My “computer” that I can plug into the car will show you the MIL “status.”

Asking you if the MIL is “ON” or “OFF”… you acknowledge one, or the other… and move ahead with your diagnosis.

What does MIL stand for? “Malfunction Indicator Lamp”

What is it’s purpose? It lets you know… something is wrong.

It’s very helpful to a mechanic, working on cars. Along with the “internal” code it “throws.”

The MIL tells you, “you need to check on me,” the old ones were called “CHECK ENGINE” lights, with today’s “computers” and “code checkers” it’s a simple step to… “plug ‘er in, and see what’s up.”

Young men, and men in general, do not come with a MIL, or a “CHECK ENGINE” light. There’s plenty of wives, and girlfriends, who wish they did!

I tell my wife, once in a while, “I’m a horrible husband.” Half jokingly, half… ashamed of our first 20 years together.

Yep, you read that right. “20 years.”

My personal MIL didn’t come on until I was 40.

I had experienced plenty of “poor running” symptoms. But the reason it’s called and “internal code” on a car, is the same reason we can’t deal with our own personal “internal codes”… they are buried on the inside… buried in a cars ECM, and buried in a mans soul, and unless you have something that will “pull the codes,” we can’t, and won’t, work on those codes.

My MIL came on in 2009.

On a drive home, after spending a day with my oldest son, who had just entered college.

My personal MIL came on in a thought.

“Why don’t I feel like a man. I’m not very manly. Why do I feel like I don’t know anything?”

So, like any good mechanic, I plugged the computer in, literally.

When I got home later that night, I sat down in our “computer” room, and “plugged ‘er in to see what was up.”

I entered what I felt was a, close enough, diagnosis, “I don’t feel manly.” And lo and behold, “The Art of Manliness” popped up.

And just like finding a specific P0300 KIA misfire code, on my wife’s KIA Optima, the Art of Manliness had very specific articles and resources that showed me what personal spark plug of mine was causing my personal misfire, and poor running condition.

Having a specific diagnosis, and seeing others, lots of others, having the same experience of a poor running condition concerning their manliness, placed me on the road to recovery.

In my experience as a mechanic I can tell you that even though all new cars have a MIL… most people still ignore it, for too long, instead, only bringing it in when the audible grinding noise… gets too loud.

After the last twelve years conducting my own personal diagnosis, looking up my “mental codes”, learning about my body, how it reacts to diet and exercise, working on re-programming my mental computer with more positive and beneficial tuning, and learning how to apply this new operating system to my life, I can see the difference between then and now, and have discovered this…

PAIN… is our MIL.

Emotional, Mental, and Physical.

The feeling of having no direction… is our MIL.

The thought of… “I don’t feel like a man,” is our MIL.

Having your wife, or girlfriend, telling you, or screaming at you… “GROW UP!” is our MIL.

Like my computer asks me, I’ll ask you, “What is your MIL status?”

Don’t ignore it, it’s telling you something is wrong.

Instead, ENCOURAGE, EQUIP, and ENGAGE with your self, determine what cylinder has the misfire, and if you don’t have the know how to change that plug out yourself… get yourself into the shop!

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