I was thinking about this afterward, and I've thought of a way to speak to this young mindset. He loves playing video games, as many young men of that age do, especially Halo and Destiny.
Halo is one of the most popular video games of all time. The game is about an interstellar war between the human race and theocratic aliens whose leaders are called the Prophets. I'm not making this up.
A newer game, created by the same people, has also proved to be immensely popular. It's called Destiny. The player must try to protect humanity from aliens who would wipe out the human race.
In other words, when he wants to have fun, he and millions of others like him, fight (in a video game) for a great cause. But when a real live version of this game appears, he wants to drop out of the world and travel? In the future, when this comes up in a conversation, I'm going to say something like this: "Come on man! You could be the hero you fantasize about. What we have been given is a game truly worth playing."
I will try to make it clear to him that he could, in real life, fight against a great evil in the world. We face a very real existential threat to the human race, to women's rights, to freedom of speech, to freedom of religion, to art, to science, to everything good about modern civilization, and there is something he could do to defend it.
The best stories, the best movies, the best video games all have one thing in common: Big stakes, big evil, and a few good people with a small chance of saving the world. I believe every human heart yearns for such a "game," such a cause, such a purpose.
I thought this idea might be useful for all of us. We need to find a way to infuse this perspective into the hearts of our young men and women. We need to help them understand that this cause is what they have been looking for.