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Time article, Boys in Crisis

by Steven Haninger / August 15, 2007 6:01 AM PDT

I had some time to kill in a hospital waiting area today and was bored until picking this up. Just thought I'd toss it out for comments. The video link (YouTube) is the book cited in the article. Much of it looks a bit like some old Boy Scout publications from the past. I think there's some validity to the comments here.

Time article

The book video

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So "snips and snails
by drpruner / August 15, 2007 11:13 AM PDT

and puppy dogs' tails" turns out to be true after all. Happy

And: 'Time article, Billy Graham'
Boy, the things I could say about him

but I'm always easy on Protestants. Happy

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I remember telling my own kids how rough we had it
by Steven Haninger / August 15, 2007 12:56 PM PDT
In reply to: So "snips and snails

compared to them....that we had few toys and our play was centered around a weedy field behind the back yard that was used as a dump site for a housing construction project nearby. All we had was scrap wood and bent nails to make things with. I had a magnifying glass that I could burn images into the wood with (would have done a virgin Mary if I knew eBay would exist someday Happy ). Anyway, my son's remark was not what I'd expected...that he'd gladly trade his Nintendo for a weed field behind our place. We were never ones to over indulge our kids like some folks we knew but maybe it's true that sometimes less is more

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Gonna' bump this
by Steven Haninger / August 18, 2007 11:48 AM PDT

As the cited book seems to be getting some attention but nothing much here. There has been some discussion here about the value of male-female historical roles and whether they should or should not be preserved. The article is a long one with many compelling elements but few, if any judgments made. I thought these lines were interesting as well as others.

Ours is far from the first society to fear for its sons. Leo Braudy of the University of Southern California, in his 2003 book From Chivalry to Terrorism, noted recurring waves of anxiety. Europeans of the 18th century imagined that free trade and the death of feudalism would spell the end of honor and chivalry. Then, with the dawn of the Industrial Age, writers like John Stuart Mill worried that progress itself--with its speed and stress and short attention spans--would cause a sort of "moral effeminacy" and "inaptitude for every kind of struggle." By the end of the 19th century, a manhood malaise permeated the entire Western world: in France it inspired Pierre de Coubertin to create the Olympic movement; in Britain it moved Robert Baden-Powell to found the Boy Scouts; in the U.S. it fueled a passion for the new sport of football and helped make a hero of rough-riding Theodore Roosevelt.

All these reforms shared a common impulse to return to the basics of boyhood--quests, competitions, tribal brotherhoods and self-discovery. There was a recognition that the keys to building a successful boy have remained remarkably consistent, whether a tribal chieftain is preparing a young warrior or a knight is training a squire or a craftsman is guiding an apprentice--or Gregory Hodge is teaching his students. Boys need mentors and structure but also some freedom to experiment. They need a group to belong to and an opponent to confront. As Gurian put it in The Wonder of Boys, they must "compete and perform well to feel worthy."

If there are no comments to be made, so be it.

the article

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Sounds like some evolutionists' views
by drpruner / August 19, 2007 4:42 AM PDT
In reply to: Gonna' bump this

of the value of [our innate] aggression. 'We'll die out unless ...'

Wars, IMO, have killed more people (and animals) than non-competitiveness. Again, your man Toynbee made sense to me when he pointed out, IHO, the danger to societies of nationalism as the natural outgrowth of, say, varsity sports. He said the mainstream religions would overcome this some day ... in a brave new world. Hasn't happened yet. (If you think that sports >> wars is too much of a stretch, look up the Nika Riots. In a real encyclopedia, please, not one infiltrated by the CIA and the Vatican. Happy )

As usual, the Christian way is different. (Now Dan will chime in with references to Jehovah's wars in the "Old Testament", and I'll have to refer him once again to my bible study post. Happy )

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OK, here I go.
by Angeline Booher / August 20, 2007 12:34 AM PDT
In reply to: Gonna' bump this

My reaction is "Balderdash!"

I admit my opinion is wrought with over-simplicity.

Males are the warriors and providers. Females are the nurturers and gatherers. However, this does not mean that both cannot learn to be both. Males are more prone to be risk takers.

Very young children are in some ways gender neutral. My toddler-age son wanted a Barbie doll (I suspect because his older sister had them). So my husband bought him one. They both had hours of play with the Barbies.... and GI Joes.

I always thought it ridiculous to hear that boys shouldn't cry. Having raised a boy and a girl, I found that neither has a lock on sensitivity.

In fact, I think that men who are not afraid to cry are those who have a well developed sense of self and a healthy ego.

When I was growing up I think there were as many males who felt "scared and disconnected" as today. The difference I see is that they had 3 more years to be considered "adults", so had more time to sort things out until they were more mature.

Girls mature faster than boys. Check the elementary grades. Girls tower over their male classmates in height. Then wait a few years and see the reverse. I do agree that boys can lag behind girls in self confidence and some achievement, but that also can change with time.

During the ridiculous gender wars I read and heard many opinions that #1: teachers always called on the boys in class; #2: girls fell behind the boys in math and science because the teachers paid more attention to the boys. I never saw that in my school days. (Though the boys were selected to take the erasers outside to knock the chalk dust off the,)

I'm not sure why it was stated that men feel emasculated because of world economics. Is it because so many women work outside of the home thus intruding on their "provider" status? Is it because some spouses have "my money" and "your money" due to the high divorce rate? or that the Sword of Damocles hangs over their heads re: job security?

IMO, the educational problems of today arise from the different roles that have been thrust upon teachers, often to the point they cannot teach, on the legal challenges to school authorities to the point that their rules become moot, and the upside-down judicial system that does not concentrate more on lesser crimes at earlier ages, rather than on felonies later.

Drug use was not present "in my day", so I realize that it has a huge impact on our students now.

If this was not the best of all possible worlds, it was certainly the best time and best place to be starting out healthy and free in a land of vast possibilities." Well said. I will add that the lesson should include expectations.

I once argued with 2 women in the 1980s re: should parents let children know what is expected of them. I took the affirmative, which shocked them. They believed in letting a child just find their own way, and that it was dangerous to their egos or ids or whatever to say what was expected.

To close, I think that the sources of the opinions are on the same plane as the opinions expressed over time.... it is always somebody else's fault.

Speakeasy Moderator

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I actually came away with more questions than answers
by Steven Haninger / August 20, 2007 1:41 AM PDT
In reply to: OK, here I go.

Surely there's a girl's counterpoint to this. But, I don't think it's just about changes male-female traditional roles. It could even have cultural implications. I have to wonder if there aren't innate characteristics within us that eventually brings us to the point of conflict when the world around us grows a different rate than our instincts can adjust to. We know that wild animals born in captivity and raised by humans aren't suddenly domesticated. We don't know if these animals are completely happy and satisfied with their surroundings even though it's all they've ever experience. Don't they still have a yen for the wilds they've never known? Is that so bad?

I have to wonder if we humans, by forcing social change, aren't in some way interfering with the natural processes that would eventually lead to the same end but in much more time than we have patience for....and maybe take out fewer victims along the way. Happy

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