Jump to content

Menu

If you've read "Boys Adrift" -- share your thoughts (s/o Steubenville thread)


msjones
 Share

Recommended Posts

I just finished reading Boys Adrift.

 

I'd enjoy hearing from others who have read it.

 

This stood out to me:

 

"Three beliefs that they believe characterize the "toxic culture" in which today's teenagers live. They are:

1. The belief that getting drunk and using drugs is normal.

2. The belief that sex is sport.

3. The belief that violence and death are entertainment.

 

Those three beliefs are pathological. They're sick. No healthy culture has ever endorsed such beliefs. Forty years ago, teenagers who subscribed to even one of those notions might well have been sent to a psychiatrist. Today, teenagers who don't subscribe to all three notions are regarded by their peers as strange."

 

Do you agree? Disagree? Think the book is a stretch? Think it hits the nail on the head? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interestingly, the author seems to support boys having guns, but also their being taught responsible use of guns.

 

He talks more about violent video games and how they give boys a feeling of power and control and distort their perception of reality.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not read the book either, but from the author's website these are his main contentions:

 

The Five Factors Driving the Decline of Boys

 

Video Games. Studies suggest that some of the most popular video games are disengaging boys from real-world pursuits.

 

Teaching Methods. Profound changes in the way children are educated have had the unintended consequence of turning many boys off school.

 

Prescription Drugs. Overuse of medication for ADHD may be causing irreversible damage to the motivational centers in boys’ brains.

 

Endocrine Disruptors. Environmental estrogens from plastic bottles and food sources may be lowering boys’ testosterone levels, making their bones more brittle and throwing their endocrine systems out of whack.

 

Devaluation of Masculinity. Shifts in popular culture have transformed the role models of manhood. Forty years ago we had Father Knows Best; today we have The Simpsons.

 

So, let's look at these factors that he contends are driving the downward decline of boys and compare them to the values of "football culture" (that are taking a beating in the other thread).

 

1) Young men playing football are active. As the wife of a football coach, the OP knows the degree of physical conditioning football requires, as do I (as a former football player). This is not a slothful zoned-out or unmotivated lifestyle, but one that gets young men in touch with their instincts and demands hard work, discipline, endurance of pain, team work, and engagement.

 

Playing football is about as big an antidote to playing video games as one could imagine. Not that some ball players might not do some gaming.

 

2) Football positively motivates many boys to enjoy school. It helps make school something they look forward to as a participant in the community. It certainly gives a motivation for academic success (or at least lack of failure), as bad grades mean ineligibility. And for many boys, especially those with lots of male energy (and those are the ones usually drawn to playing football in the first place) football is a way for them to work-out the crazy impulses and energy that young men have when massive amounts of testosterone are flowing in their bodies, and to do so in socially constructive ways.

 

I can speak to this last point. Playing football, and the incredible physical demands it required (about which I suspect some of you have no clue) helped keep me sane as a teenager.

 

3) The way school are organized are punitive towards "boy energy." That can (and does) turn boys off. Playing rough sports like football, rugby, and lacrosse (or even basketball) are ways to give young men back a masculine world to inhabit, instead of being forced full-time into a world that is emasculating and punishing of normal boy behavior.

 

4) How many boys would be off ADD meds if they had a positive ways to get their ya-yas out? I suspect it would be a great many. Hard (and I mean hard) physical exercise is calming for young men. And no sport I know of is more demanding than football in the intensely hard work regularly expected at the youth and high school levels.

 

Removing hard play from a boys world is a bad thing.

 

5) For any testosterone reduction a boy might get eating edamame or drinking from a plastic cup, I have to believe there is more than overwhelming compensation when they pit themselves like warriors on the gridiron. I've yet to meet a football (rugby, or lacrosse) player yet who seemed to be suffering from low levels of testosterone.

 

6) Devaluation of masculinity. Big problem. Football elevates masculinity. That makes it subject to attack by forces that want to emasculate men. But a bastion for those of us who value raising virile boys ( in a sometimes hostile culture).

 

So before we trash football culture completely, let's take a hard look at the threats boys are under in the larger American culture, and see where sports like football fit in the big picture.

 

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know the whole football aspect of this seems controversial here, but it really depends on how the community treats football. In the community where I grew up, you had to pass certain "good kid" tests in order to hope to play football. If you screwed up even doing things that have come to be considered "normal" (e.g., drugs/alcohol), supposedly you were kicked off or at least suspended from the team. Can't say whether anyone ever turned a blind eye, but if they did, I didn't know about it. I know some kids were denied sports eligibility due to not living up to high behavioral and academic standards.

 

I hear of other communities where apparently people turn a blind eye. I don't see that as a problem with sports, but rather a problem with folks who grew up in an emotional / ethical desert. Blaming football is no smarter than blaming the way a rape victim dressed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hear of other communities where apparently people turn a blind eye. I don't see that as a problem with sports, but rather a problem with folks who grew up in an emotional / ethical desert. Blaming football is no smarter than blaming the way a rape victim dressed.

 

 

True. Personally, I would argue that football does contribute to a culture of aggression and glorification of violence. However, in the case of Steubenville, I think the problem comes not directly from football but from the near-deification of sports idols that too often gives even amatuers like these kids immunity from social norms and consequences.

 

With that said, though, I should probably bow out of this thread. We all know that conversations about violence in popular culture don't end well for me here. I won't say anything new, anything to change anyone else's mind. And I don't feel like putting myself out there as punching bag today.

 

I truly hope this is a meaningful and thought-provoking conversation for everyone who does brave it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think your argument is perfectly reasonable. I don't think any football culture has been taken away though. Has it?

 

I'll admit to not at all being into football, but I don't think we should do away with football.

 

 

Well, I think you have places where "football culture" is celebrated—and sometimes to an unhealthy degree. And venues (like this forum) where (generally speaking) football culture is disparaged. Then you have the great middle of American culture. And in this great middle I see the opportunities for the positive expression of normal boy energy disappearing.

 

At our elementary school I do not know a single boy who plays tackle football. Mine included. If you said you did, I know the look one would get from other parents. I get comments about lacrosse and rugby.

 

In the great middle boys are losing their opportunities for masculine outlet. While "slacker" culture is raised as a new normal.

 

I think we are getting out of whack. I know there are extremes of "jock culture." There is also a greater danger of over-reaction that further erodes positive masculine virtues that needs guarding against.

 

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I think you have places where "football culture" is celebrated—and sometime to an unhealthy degree. And venues (like this forum) where (generally speaking) football culture is disparaged. Then you have the great middle of American culture. And in this great middle I see the opportunities for the positive expression of normal boy energy disappearing.

 

At our elementary school I do not know a single boy who plays tackle football. Mine included. If you said you did, I know the look one would get from other parents. I get comments about lacrosse and rugby.

 

In the great middle boys are losing their opportunities for masculine outlet. While "slacker" culture is raised as a new normal.

 

I think we are getting out of whack. I know there are extremes of "jock culture." There is also a greater danger of over-reaction that further erodes positive masculine virtues that needs guarding against.

 

Bill

 

I agree with Bill. I think football (and other sports) are a great outlet for boys. I think the problem is the unhealthy culture that can surround it -- celebration of athletic prowess above other achievements/qualities, exemption for athletes from rules of conduct/morality, etc.

 

I read and resonated with Boys Adrift. That book (the arguments it makes) was actually one of the things that convinced us to have our 12ds attend an all-boys' middle school this year. It has been an exceptional experience. He has really grown as a young man in a place that appeals to his innate drive to compete (this is in place in all areas -- academics, sports, character).

 

The author actually uses football as a positive example of healthy activity for boys (as opposed to virtual football gaming). He tells a story of a kid who is rescued from gaming addiction by his parents forcing him to actually play the game for real. So I doubt the author would blame what happened in Steubenville on football.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree these things are toxic. I do not agree these things are necessarily new. I do think video games have changed our culture - tv and computers and cell phones too.

 

I also think something has seriously changed in the way girls think and behave,and in the way they are raised. It is one thing to have a sexist, unfair society where boys are allowed to "sow their oats" while girls are sheltered, monitored, and face pressure to be "good girls" who don't drink and who put the brakes on any attempt by boys to get inside their clothes. That wasn't a great culture, for sure.

 

It's another thing to live in a culture where girls, in the interest of liberation, are also free to drink excessively, and in the interests of being popular with boys, decide that "hooking up" with different boys all the time is the best path to popularity. Let's not forget that there were also girls at the party in question and that they failed to protect the other girl and so used social media to shame and humiliate her.

 

I want my boys to be honorable, to not drink, to watch out for their friends, especially their female friends, to value the dignity of everyone they engage with. I don't have a daughter, but if I did, I would be dying reading these news reports. It's not the victim alone I feel this way about. I can't imagine how it would feel to know your daughter was so interested in being cool and pandering to young men that she failed to intervene in this situation. What is wrong with GIRLS these days that they are also treating s@x and alcohol like toys, and are so little interested in loving other girls? How did this happen? Why is being "hot" such a compelling goal these days? What do we think 16 year old girls are going to do with all that hotness?

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just finished reading Boys Adrift.

 

I'd enjoy hearing from others who have read it.

 

This stood out to me:

 

"Three beliefs that they believe characterize the "toxic culture" in which today's teenagers live. They are:

1. The belief that getting drunk and using drugs is normal.

2. The belief that sex is sport.

3. The belief that violence and death are entertainment.

 

Those three beliefs are pathological. They're sick. No healthy culture has ever endorsed such beliefs. Forty years ago, teenagers who subscribed to even one of those notions might well have been sent to a psychiatrist. Today, teenagers who don't subscribe to all three notions are regarded by their peers as strange."

 

Do you agree? Disagree? Think the book is a stretch? Think it hits the nail on the head? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I don't really agree with that. I did listen to that book and I got a lot out of it but that part did not stick out to me.

The parts of the book that were the most meaningful to me (with a young ds) were not expecting boys to act like girls of the same age and providing lots of VERY physical outlets for boys.

 

 

 

I can speak to this last point. Playing football, and the incredible physical demands it required (about which I suspect some of you have no clue) helped keep me sane as a teenager.

 

3) The way school are organized are punitive towards "boy energy." That can (and does) turn boys off. Playing rough sports like football, rugby, and lacrosse (or even basketball) are ways to give young men back a masculine world to inhabit, instead of being forced full-time into a world that is emasculating and punishing of normal boy behavior.

 

4) How many boys would be off ADD meds if they had a positive ways to get their ya-yas out? I suspect it would be a great many. Hard (and I mean hard) physical exercise is calming for young men. And no sport I know of is more demanding than football in the intensely hard work regularly expected at the youth and high school levels.

 

Removing hard play from a boys world is a bad thing.

 

5) For any testosterone reduction a boy might get eating edamame of drinking from a plastic cup, I have to believe there is more than overwhelming compensation when they pit themselves like warriors on the gridiron. I've yet to meet a football (rugby, or lacrosse) player yet who seemed to be suffering from low levels of testosterone.

 

6) Devaluation of masculinity. Big problem. Football elevates masculinity. That makes it subject to attack by forces that want to emasculate men. But a bastion for those of us who value raising virale boys ( in a sometimes hostile culture).

 

So before we trash football culture completely, let's take a hard look at the threats boys are under in the larger American culture, and see where sports like football fit in the big picture.

 

Bill

I agree with all this. This is actually what I took away from the book because it was most applicable to my ds.

 

At the time I was listening to the book, I had my ds in a ballet class. The book helped me to see that the ballet class was NOT working for him. He was the only boy in a class of 12 girls, there was a lot of standing around waiting for his turn (which he could not manage to do without licking the mirror) and the little girls were constantly looking at him like he had 3 heads. We are very open and encouraging of him going back to ballet at some point but it did not work for him when he was 6/7.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At the time I was listening to the book, I had my ds in a ballet class. The book helped me to see that the ballet class was NOT working for him. He was the only boy in a class of 12 girls, there was a lot of standing around waiting for his turn (which he could not manage to do without licking the mirror) and the little girls were constantly looking at him like he had 3 heads. We are very open and encouraging of him going back to ballet at some point but it did not work for him when he was 6/7.

 

 

Funny, but we also considered ballet for our son.. A huge ballet academy recently moved in down the steet, and could not be more convenient. He likes to move, is very flexible (can do the splits) and has a tall lean athletic build that I think would be perfect for a male ballet dancer. And both my wife and I admire the physical training and strength these artist/athletes endure.

 

Could I see my son also wanting to lick the mirrors? You bet! :D

 

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I think you have places where "football culture" is celebrated—and sometimes to an unhealthy degree. And venues (like this forum) where (generally speaking) football culture is disparaged. Then you have the great middle of American culture. And in this great middle I see the opportunities for the positive expression of normal boy energy disappearing.

 

At our elementary school I do not know a single boy who plays tackle football. Mine included. If you said you did, I know the look one would get from other parents. I get comments about lacrosse and rugby.

 

In the great middle boys are losing their opportunities for masculine outlet. While "slacker" culture is raised as a new normal.

 

I think we are getting out of whack. I know there are extremes of "jock culture." There is also a greater danger of over-reaction that further erodes positive masculine virtues that needs guarding against.

 

Bill

 

 

We're a football family, I totally agree with you, and so would my husband. The problem I have with certain aspects of that culture is that some of these boys believe they can do no wrong because they're small town superstars. Overinflated egos.

 

It's like the character training got divorced from the on field training in a way, and I don't believe it's all the coach's fault.

 

And I think character training has left us as a society on a whole, so there's that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Football and all other sports in my high school came with behavior standards, for both on and off campus. One did not smoke, drink, fight, use drugs, impregnate one's gf, sass any adult or do less than their best in classes. Any trouble off campus was immediately reported to the school and that resulted in losing the privilege of being on a sports team for the rest of the year. Don't beleive that is the case for some other high schools in these days.

 

As far as those three beliefs -- many 'popular' kids, i.e. those that follow a leader like lemmings, do have the culture of abuse and shallowness. A lot of that is parent driven, you see it as soon as your family participates in any youth activiities. Like everyone else, I can tell you who the likely sociopaths in my kids' cohorts are - but nothing can be done until they are adults and get prosecuted. Violence and death are entertainment -- haven't seen that. Violence is more of a way to prove your manhood or your power status, as is sex. Death is something that happens to old people or those in the inner city culture or those who are impaired after a party and try to drive home.

 

I also feel that many teens have no idea how to live. They are bored, they have been provided a vehicle and maybe some pocket money, but they aren't doing anything with it aside from entertaining themselves. I cannot express well how frustrating it has been to raise teen boys, as it is next-to-impossible to find friends who are allowed to do rough things like mountain bike or not so rough things like ski/snowboard. Their parents would rather they 'party' at home...rather like the wild stories one hears about Olympic athletes after their events...

 

 

 

Exactly!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Removing hard play from a boys world is a bad thing.

 

 

 

My son does a different brand of masculine sports (rock climbing, skiing, and mountain biking) but I totally agree with everything you said, but this especially. Having read the book the author is very big on boys having not just a male role model, but being around groups of men. I know nothing about football culture, but my husband is a Marine infantry officer so I imagine there are similarities. I get it.

 

As for the OP points, #3 had the most resonance for me and its the reason my son has very little video game exposure. We recently played a game together called Waking Mars for iPad where you explore cool tunnels and increase biomass by planting seeds. Aside from a very limited number of educational apps that's as far as I'm willing to go with video games.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

We're a football family, I totally agree with you, and so would my husband. The problem I have with certain aspects of that culture is that some of these boys believe they can do no wrong because they're small town superstars. Overinflated egos.

 

It's like the character training got divorced from the on field training in a way, and I don't believe it's all the coach's fault.

 

And I think character training has left us as a society on a whole, so there's that.

 

 

I think you've nailed it. There needs to be character training as an essential part of the sport.

 

I think it is difficult for those who are not familiar with football first hand to understand what a powerful force a coach can be on the young men under his leadership. Football is a sport that transforms young men. It really gets them in touch with their "inner warrior" in a way has is pretty unique. As part of that training they need moral guidance to lead them to use their burgeoning physical strength and talents for the good.

 

Just as knights of yore learned honor and chivalry as their time of physical training, so to is this critical to the modern equivalents.

 

No person can be more destructive to the shaping of young men that a football coach of low character. This is a discipline that shapes character.

 

I was so fortunate to have a head coach growing up that was a model of rectictitude and mature-manliness. A Morman guy. Straight as an arrow. Not preachy in any degree, but a man who lead us boys by example. I cherish the memory of him.

 

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My DH was heavily recruited by the football coach. When he said no, the coach wouldn't let it drop and hounded him. He was 6 ft. at 13, so while he was not heavy, he would have been an intimidating freshman player.

 

DH's reasoning for avoiding football was what others have complained about--coaches who have low morals and care more about their players' on-field victories than anything about their character. This coach did nothing but feed his players' egos without expecting decent, gentlemanly behavior from them. DH refused to play for a "self-aggrandizing jerk."

 

He chose hockey instead, and excelled and flourished under coaches who were good, moral men. Of course this sport still had the rough, warrior aspect to it, but the attitudes of the coaches and players was markedly different than that of the "football culture" that prevailed at his school.

 

I'm sure there are good, moral football coaches and plenty of obnoxious hockey/basketball/soccer/tennis/whatever coaches, but too many of us have encounter ridiculousness in football for us to think the attitudes we see are all stereotypes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure how this became a football thread? I was trying to start a different thread after my little personal football tirade on the other thread! :)

 

Another thing about Boys Adrift that I keep thinking about is this:

 

"They've never siphoned anything, never fixed a car, never worked on a fuel pump, may not have even hooked up a garden hose. For a whole generation of kids, direct experiences in the backyard, in the tool shed, in the fields and woods, has been replaced by indirect learning, through computers. These young people are smart, the grew up with computers, they were supposed to be superior -- but now we know that something's missing."

 

This resonated with me. No one around here has a tool shed or a field or woods. Many of my friends' boys don't even take the trash out let alone mow the lawn or wash a car or do what some WTM board members like to call "hard physical labor."

 

Many families seem surprised that my kids have real chores that take some time. I have heard several friends say that (by their design) their children's "only work is school."

 

So, I agree that many boys (and girls, too, but we're talking boys here) just can't do much. They don't have to, don't want to, and they would rather play video games. (Even I like to play some of those games...)

 

This is why we take our kids camping and backpacking and send them on every scouting trip/activity that we can. We have to seek out opportunities for our boys to exert themselves.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure how this became a football thread? I was trying to start a different thread after my little personal football tirade on the other thread! :)

 

 

 

My fault, I'm afraid.

 

I liked your little tirade BTW, hence the football stuff.

 

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"They've never siphoned anything, never fixed a car, never worked on a fuel pump, may not have even hooked up a garden hose. For a whole generation of kids, direct experiences in the backyard, in the tool shed, in the fields and woods, has been replaced by indirect learning, through computers. These young people are smart, the grew up with computers, they were supposed to be superior -- but now we know that something's missing."

 

This resonated with me. No one around here has a tool shed or a field or woods. Many of my friends' boys don't even take the trash out let alone mow the lawn or wash a car or do what some WTM board members like to call "hard physical labor."

 

Many families seem surprised that my kids have real chores that take some time. I have heard several friends say that (by their design) their children's "only work is school."

 

So, I agree that many boys (and girls, too, but we're talking boys here) just can't do much. They don't have to, don't want to, and they would rather play video games. (Even I like to play some of those games...)

 

This is why we take our kids camping and backpacking and send them on every scouting trip/activity that we can. We have to seek out opportunities for our boys to exert themselves.

 

 

Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, YES! :D

 

This was what resonated with me, well this and the incredible need for physical play. Just plain DOing. My boys need to troubleshoot, problem solve, get splinters climbing trees, get grass stains on their jeans and dirt and grease under their fingernails, learn to use tools and then clean them and put them away, change a tire, snake a toilet, put up and take down a tent... (Now, I also think my DD should learn and do much of what my boys do, and I really don't want to get into issues of boys vs girls here. I would hate for this thread to get derailed by equality and blah blah blah.) ;) Boys need this. They need to have high expectations. They need to be brought along by degrees into manhood. I also think they need to be alongside their fathers or another strong male role model and learn from a good example to be men. I am with my boys the vast majority of their days, and I teach them a lot. But, honestly, when they are in the room with DH, they are just different boys. When DS10 helps DH pitch the tent, he might as well be 20. When he is helping DH change the brake pads in the car, he is forming his identity and it is as a responsible man who takes care of his things and his family. He takes out the trash, scoops the dog poop in the yard, washes the dog, washes/vacuums the car, cleans the kids' bathroom... He also gets an allowance for all of this, as these are his chores that serve the whole family. Anyway, I think the biggest thing missing from the life of boys these days is MEN. Good, strong, honorable MEN.

 

And my personal rule about video games is that they don't play on a screen whatever they could actually play at a park. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would just say that a lot of these comments are true for many girls as well. Particularly those girls who do not care to lose themselves in a book. (Like my eldest dd.)

 

My dd has/had a stealing problem (may I hope it's resolved?), and as you can imagine, this distressed me a lot. The elderly lady who monitors their after-school program was reassuring. She said she's seen many, many kids with this or similar problems, but she feels my dd will be fine "because she has plenty to do." The idle mind is the devil's workshop and all that. My dd is at her best when she's doing challenging physical gymnastics with kids who are bigger/older than she is.

 

I also agree about chores. Gotta have some responsibility, especially the kind that requires problem-solving.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, but what rubs me the wrong way about this is not every man is strong in that way. It doesn't mean they aren't honorable. Not everyone is cut out for chopping down trees.

 

My boys do stuff with their dad, but it isn't chopping down trees. I don't think that makes them girls (or whatever the opposite of honorable good strong men is).

 

? I don't think I mentioned chopping trees. LOL I certainly didn't say that guys who don't do these things are girls or the opposite of honorable, good, strong men. I didn't mean only physically strong. No, all men (or boys, for that matter) are not the same. I am speaking of what I know. I don't think you have to pitch a tent to be a strong, honorable, good man. So, say a guy isn't physically strong. He can still teach his boys to behave like gentlemen, take care of their things, show pride in ownership/craftsmanship, a job well done. I gave examples that have happened around here. But DH has also taught my boys how to stay patient working logic puzzles, troubleshoot solutions when they have disagreements, escort spiders to the garden, make their beds neatly, wash behind their ears... But I stand by my statement that boys need men.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I make the bed...just not neatly :D

 

Bill (a man has to know his limitations)

 

:lol: I hate making the bed with DH. When he wants to help, I groan inside (and sometimes outside). I am significantly less than perfect in the bedmaking department. I want a neat appearance, not so much concerned about the reality underneath... That makes DH sad. :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure how this became a football thread? I was trying to start a different thread after my little personal football tirade on the other thread! :)

 

Another thing about Boys Adrift that I keep thinking about is this:

 

"They've never siphoned anything, never fixed a car, never worked on a fuel pump, may not have even hooked up a garden hose. For a whole generation of kids, direct experiences in the backyard, in the tool shed, in the fields and woods, has been replaced by indirect learning, through computers. These young people are smart, the grew up with computers, they were supposed to be superior -- but now we know that something's missing."

 

This resonated with me. No one around here has a tool shed or a field or woods. Many of my friends' boys don't even take the trash out let alone mow the lawn or wash a car or do what some WTM board members like to call "hard physical labor."

 

Many families seem surprised that my kids have real chores that take some time. I have heard several friends say that (by their design) their children's "only work is school."

 

So, I agree that many boys (and girls, too, but we're talking boys here) just can't do much. They don't have to, don't want to, and they would rather play video games. (Even I like to play some of those games...)

 

This is why we take our kids camping and backpacking and send them on every scouting trip/activity that we can. We have to seek out opportunities for our boys to exert themselves.

 

 

I have read the book, but I've reserved it at the library so I can read it again. DH and I have talked a lot over the years about this topic. He feels very strongly about the bolded part. It both shocks and frustrates him that he encounters so many 23-40 year old engineers who have never used a drill or changed their own car's oil. Some of them don't know how to mow a lawn. Some of them have never even used a hammer! These are intelligent guys, but they didn't grow up doing physical things other than some organized sports. They are into movies, gaming, junk food, and various gadgets and gizmos. Some are so physically weak that they can't hold up their own end of a couch or a sheet of plywood appropriately or find it odd that he would ride his bike just 2 miles to work. He grew up free range in Alaska. While some of his experiences freak me out because he definitely could have been killed or seriously injured, I understand his desire that our son take some risks and experience physical things first hand. What may seem like boys just "messing around" was valuable strength, resourcefulness, courage, endurance, patience, and intelligence training for him. We talk a lot about how we can replicate some of that for our son.

 

By 18 mo., our son would spend nearly 2 hours in the garage with DH. He would sit on the large workbench and play with things, hold things, try to assemble things, etc. For his 2nd birthday DH built him a real tool bench with real tools. At 3 he can hammer a nail pretty well and can do all sorts of other basic tasks in the garage. DH always finds a way for DS to help him wash the car, care for the lawn, build wood projects, clean up, take out trash, wash dishes, paint, etc. I really admire his patience! He never brushes him off or tells him there is no way he can contribute. It is very important to DH that DS grow up to be competent in this area and feel like his work is meaningful.

 

16 months & 2 years:

 

IMG_2598_zpscf97f179.jpg

 

IMG_2602_zps41a310ef.jpg

 

IMG_7852-Copy_zpsec1820ab.jpg

 

IMG_7866_zps7fbcef09.jpg

 

IMG_7771_zps6d8fac46.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would just say that a lot of these comments are true for many girls as well. Particularly those girls who do not care to lose themselves in a book. (Like my eldest dd.)

 

My dd has/had a stealing problem (may I hope it's resolved?), and as you can imagine, this distressed me a lot. The elderly lady who monitors their after-school program was reassuring. She said she's seen many, many kids with this or similar problems, but she feels my dd will be fine "because she has plenty to do." The idle mind is the devil's workshop and all that. My dd is at her best when she's doing challenging physical gymnastics with kids who are bigger/older than she is.

 

I also agree about chores. Gotta have some responsibility, especially the kind that requires problem-solving.

 

 

 

You should read the book by the same author (Leonard Sax) called "Girls on the Edge." I was stunned -- in a wake-up call kind of way -- by the author's observations. His section on "The Dark Night of the Soul" left me in tears.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

1. The belief that getting drunk and using drugs is normal.

2. The belief that sex is sport.

3. The belief that violence and death are entertainment.

 

 

I'm not sure this is anything new. Alcohol has a long, long history, sex has always been considered a "past time" by some men (prostitution is the oldest profession, as they say, and being a mistress maybe the oldest relationship), and violence and death have always been entertainment... think of public executions, or the gladiators, or the way extreme methods of torture, often public, used to be commonplace. I always get uncomfortable when people talk as though times past were a golden age and that human decency is unraveling in our day and age. Quality of life, education, human rights are all much higher today than they have ever been in history. The world is far from perfect but I would pick our current time over any other time in history.

 

If anything, we now have higher expectations of men and women, from an ethical perspective. In fact those young men probably wouldn't even have gone on trial a hundred years ago.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just finished reading Boys Adrift.

 

I'd enjoy hearing from others who have read it.

 

This stood out to me:

 

"Three beliefs that they believe characterize the "toxic culture" in which today's teenagers live. They are:

1. The belief that getting drunk and using drugs is normal.

2. The belief that sex is sport.

3. The belief that violence and death are entertainment.

 

Those three beliefs are pathological. They're sick. No healthy culture has ever endorsed such beliefs. Forty years ago, teenagers who subscribed to even one of those notions might well have been sent to a psychiatrist. Today, teenagers who don't subscribe to all three notions are regarded by their peers as strange."

 

Do you agree? Disagree? Think the book is a stretch? Think it hits the nail on the head? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

 

 

40 years ago, I was a teenager. #1 & #2 were true then. I didn't know anyone who went to a therapist, let alone a psychiatrist. (Not that I am against it--it just wasn't done then. The therapeutic culture came after my teen years.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure how this became a football thread? I was trying to start a different thread after my little personal football tirade on the other thread! :)

 

Another thing about Boys Adrift that I keep thinking about is this:

 

"They've never siphoned anything, never fixed a car, never worked on a fuel pump, may not have even hooked up a garden hose. For a whole generation of kids, direct experiences in the backyard, in the tool shed, in the fields and woods, has been replaced by indirect learning, through computers. These young people are smart, the grew up with computers, they were supposed to be superior -- but now we know that something's missing."

 

This resonated with me. No one around here has a tool shed or a field or woods. Many of my friends' boys don't even take the trash out let alone mow the lawn or wash a car or do what some WTM board members like to call "hard physical labor."

 

Many families seem surprised that my kids have real chores that take some time. I have heard several friends say that (by their design) their children's "only work is school."

 

So, I agree that many boys (and girls, too, but we're talking boys here) just can't do much. They don't have to, don't want to, and they would rather play video games. (Even I like to play some of those games...)

 

This is why we take our kids camping and backpacking and send them on every scouting trip/activity that we can. We have to seek out opportunities for our boys to exert themselves.

 

You should hear my father utterly *lament* how boys now know how to do nothing and compare it to his upbringing.

 

Now, my Grandfather was a Scout leader, owned his own fridge/plumbing business and that man could build a house with a pocketknife and a tree. He taught his sons the same. My father tells me stories of the old Popular Science for Boys mags, that gave these directions that you and I would have to own all of Home Despot to make, but back then, they had on hand. How they fixed everything and made stuff from their own imaginations.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not read the book either, but from the author's website these are his main contentions:

 

The Five Factors Driving the Decline of Boys

 

Video Games. Studies suggest that some of the most popular video games are disengaging boys from real-world pursuits.

 

Teaching Methods. Profound changes in the way children are educated have had the unintended consequence of turning many boys off school.

 

Prescription Drugs. Overuse of medication for ADHD may be causing irreversible damage to the motivational centers in boys’ brains.

 

Endocrine Disruptors. Environmental estrogens from plastic bottles and food sources may be lowering boys’ testosterone levels, making their bones more brittle and throwing their endocrine systems out of whack.

 

Devaluation of Masculinity. Shifts in popular culture have transformed the role models of manhood. Forty years ago we had Father Knows Best; today we have The Simpsons.

 

 

So, let's look at these factors that he contends are driving the downward decline of boys and compare them to the values of "football culture" (that are taking a beating in the other thread).

 

1) Young men playing football are active. As the wife of a football coach, the OP knows the degree of physical conditioning football requires, as do I (as a former football player). This is not a slothful zoned-out or unmotivated lifestyle, but one that gets young men in touch with their instincts and demands hard work, discipline, endurance of pain, team work, and engagement.

 

Playing football is about as big an antidote to playing video games as one could imagine. Not that some ball players might not do some gaming.

 

2) Football positively motivates many boys to enjoy school. It helps make school something they look forward to as a participant in the community. It certainly gives a motivation for academic success (or at least lack of failure), as bad grades mean ineligibility. And for many boys, especially those with lots of male energy (and those are the ones usually drawn to playing football in the first place) football is a way for them to work-out the crazy impulses and energy that young men have when massive amounts of testosterone are flowing in their bodies, and to do so in socially constructive ways.

 

I can speak to this last point. Playing football, and the incredible physical demands it required (about which I suspect some of you have no clue) helped keep me sane as a teenager.

 

3) The way school are organized are punitive towards "boy energy." That can (and does) turn boys off. Playing rough sports like football, rugby, and lacrosse (or even basketball) are ways to give young men back a masculine world to inhabit, instead of being forced full-time into a world that is emasculating and punishing of normal boy behavior.

 

4) How many boys would be off ADD meds if they had a positive ways to get their ya-yas out? I suspect it would be a great many. Hard (and I mean hard) physical exercise is calming for young men. And no sport I know of is more demanding than football in the intensely hard work regularly expected at the youth and high school levels.

 

Removing hard play from a boys world is a bad thing.

 

5) For any testosterone reduction a boy might get eating edamame or drinking from a plastic cup, I have to believe there is more than overwhelming compensation when they pit themselves like warriors on the gridiron. I've yet to meet a football (rugby, or lacrosse) player yet who seemed to be suffering from low levels of testosterone.

 

6) Devaluation of masculinity. Big problem. Football elevates masculinity. That makes it subject to attack by forces that want to emasculate men. But a bastion for those of us who value raising virile boys ( in a sometimes hostile culture).

 

So before we trash football culture completely, let's take a hard look at the threats boys are under in the larger American culture, and see where sports like football fit in the big picture.

 

Bill

 

 

Bill, I have no issue with football as a sport and as the mother of two teenage guys, I see a world of value in keeping them physically active. I also agree that classrooms aren't the greatest places for many young boys. However, I do kind of get the idea that in your mind (and in a few million other Americans as well) that a guy really needs to play football in order to be masculine.

 

High testosterone levels don't always make the man, Bill. I appreciate a guy that can bench press x amount, run a mile, has a tight end - oops, I mean is a tight end, but is that all there is to the virility/manhood test? Is it the bashing into other guys that is the virility stick here, because it can't necessarily be just the fitness aspect? At 12, my dd the swimmer could probably have crushed her brother the football player, when he was 12. Okay, she is pretty tiny, so he could have pinned her, but she could have outran him, outswam him, and probably lifted more in weights.

 

Lots of great things come out of a good football program, run by a good coaching staff. The same can be said for many sports. The problem comes when we elevate the sport to a religion and we accept blood sacrifices at the altar. When the "little people" pay at the hands of the sport's elite, it's a problem. When laws get broken and we look the other way, it's a problem. And then we call the whole thing a "bastion of virility?"

 

Sure. Buff and brawny is good, but he better have a brain, know how to fix things, have a level of humility, know right from wrong and be willing to try and fix an injustice when he sees it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

40 years ago, I was a teenager. #1 & #2 were true then. I didn't know anyone who went to a therapist, let alone a psychiatrist. (Not that I am against it--it just wasn't done then. The therapeutic culture came after my teen years.)

 

I agree with you on this. I don't think any of this is new. What does seem new is the general do-nothingness of boys. The book talks about that at length.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I'm not sure this is anything new. Alcohol has a long, long history, sex has always been considered a "past time" by some men (prostitution is the oldest profession, as they say, and being a mistress maybe the oldest relationship), and violence and death have always been entertainment... think of public executions, or the gladiators, or the way extreme methods of torture, often public, used to be commonplace. I always get uncomfortable when people talk as though times past were a golden age and that human decency is unraveling in our day and age. Quality of life, education, human rights are all much higher today than they have ever been in history. The world is far from perfect but I would pick our current time over any other time in history.

 

If anything, we now have higher expectations of men and women, from an ethical perspective. In fact those young men probably wouldn't even have gone on trial a hundred years ago.

 

Excellent points.

 

I think the best point in his book is about the general (and new) lack of male motivation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you've nailed it. There needs to be character training as an essential part of the sport.

 

I think it is difficult for those who are not familiar with football first hand to understand what a powerful force a coach can be on the young men under his leadership. Football is a sport that transforms young men. It really gets them in touch with their "inner warrior" in a way has is pretty unique. As part of that training they need moral guidance to lead them to use their burgeoning physical strength and talents for the good.

 

Just as knights of yore learned honor and chivalry as their time of physical training, so to is this critical to the modern equivalents.

 

No person can be more destructive to the shaping of young men that a football coach of low character. This is a discipline that shapes character.

 

I was so fortunate to have a head coach growing up that was a model of rectictitude and mature-manliness. A Morman guy. Straight as an arrow. Not preachy in any degree, but a man who lead us boys by example. I cherish the memory of him.

 

Bill

 

 

I wish I had seen this post before I decided to take a mallet to you, Bill.

 

There was something about the tone of your post about football and "bastion of virility" that struck me wrong. This post, I totally get and actually think that having a place for young men to work hard, develop self-discipline, challenge themselves, and serve under a positive role model is imperative. I just don't think that football is the only place that can happen.

 

So what I am wondering in this case is is it really about manhood and virility and football? Ugh. What I mean, Bill, is if your football coach had coached girls' basketball wouldn't he have probably still have inspired the young people under his guidance to be the best that they can be? One of my sons and my daughter both swam under a particular coach. He demanded self-discipline and hard work from his swimmers and modeled humility and a positive attitude. Kids just seemed to turn in into better versions of themselves. They didn't develop some of the arrogance and swagger that came with swimming for one of our other coaches.

 

I've noticed that the really good coaches also tend to have a more balanced perspective with regards to winning and losing.

 

As a culture, I think winning has become far more important than character. Good coaches build characters, not just athletes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

This post, I totally get and actually think that having a place for young men to work hard, develop self-discipline, challenge themselves, and serve under a positive role model is imperative. I just don't think that football is the only place that can happen.

 

 

I totally agree. As I mentioned DH has about the most masculine job/environment a guy can have - Marine infantry officer for 16 years with 4 combat tours. By almost every measure he's excellent at is job and a man of awesome character. He has also never played an organized sport in his entire life and doesn't even know the rules for football. However he did start doing week long canoe, backpacking, and ski trips with his dad, grandpa, and brother starting at age 8. He also helped his mom work on her 100 year old 7 bedroom fixer upper as a teen. Noticeably I also don't think I've seen him play a video game more than twice in the past 10 years and he only watches TV or movies when he is deployed.

 

I think football, and sports in general, are probably one of the more accessible masculine outlets within the limitations of suburban mainstream America, but not the only way to achieve that result and maybe not even the best.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

I wish I had seen this post before I decided to take a mallet to you, Bill.

 

There was something about the tone of your post about football and "bastion of virility" that struck me wrong. This post, I totally get and actually think that having a place for young men to work hard, develop self-discipline, challenge themselves, and serve under a positive role model is imperative. I just don't think that football is the only place that can happen.

 

So what I am wondering in this case is is it really about manhood and virility and football? Ugh. What I mean, Bill, is if your football coach had coached girls' basketball wouldn't he have probably still have inspired the young people under his guidance to be the best that they can be? One of my sons and my daughter both swam under a particular coach. He demanded self-discipline and hard work from his swimmers and modeled humility and a positive attitude. Kids just seemed to turn in into better versions of themselves. They didn't develop some of the arrogance and swagger that came with swimming for one of our other coaches.

 

I've noticed that the really good coaches also tend to have a more balanced perspective with regards to winning and losing.

 

As a culture, I think winning has become far more important than character. Good coaches build characters, not just athletes.

 

I think there are all sorts of great sports that appeal to kids with different talents and interests.

 

In the past couple years I've been coaching *cough*cough* basketball myself, not football (which was the passion of my youth) because my son has enjoyed basketball, and now I'm trying to help "assistant coach" lacrosse (a game that is new to us both).

 

I do think there is something unique about American football. It is the one game where you can unload with ones full physical force without great risk of injury (conclusion risks not-withstanding). There is something very powerful and liberating in being able to go 100% full force.

 

Even when playing rugby, which is in many ways a more brutal game that American football (and a sport I enjoyed playing in my youth), one has to hold back a little (due to lack of padding) to avoid serious injury. In football you take and deliver hits you would not dare do in rugby. Unless you are nuts.

 

And the practices in football are intense. Not to say other sports don't train hard. But a basketball practice just does not compare to a football practice. It is just not the same. And basketball, while a fine sport (one I enjoy) just does not tap into the same "proxy warfare" head-space that football does. They are different games.

 

Great coaches can help mold young men and women in many sports. Which is terrific. But I also think football has a special place in our national imagination for a good reason. IMO It is a different sort of game.

 

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But is the statement in bold true? I think we are pretty "modern" and yes we do use computers a lot, but my kids have done stuff that I'd consider equivalent to those things. My kids were involved with us when we renovated our house. My kids have helped with plumbing. My son has helped fix things. He knows not only how to turn on a computer, but how to build one. He can solder and make electronic components. He has hooked up a garden house. He helped me change a car battery and change spark plugs.

 

And really I'm not the most hands on sort of person, but we do these things. Who are these piles of people who are just laying around all day? I don't see it.

 

My aunt gets Wwoofers (so people in their 20's) who don't know how to wash dishes by hand. Some of them come from cultures where all they have time to do is study. The rest? Maybe they had fathers like mine who knew how to do a lot, but swore and threw things when things went wrong. Maybe they didn't have fathers. I don't know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BTW this whole discussion reminds me of a group camping trip I took back in September. Mostly it was moms on their own and most of the kids were boys. My son, age 5 at the time, was the only one helping. Not only did he pitch our tent mostly by himself (under my direction) but he carried most of the stuff from the car to the campsite and back again at the end of the weekend. I was pretty shocked that 8 and 10 year old boys were not lifting a finger to help their moms, and were not required to do anything all weekend, even though they were all experienced and frequent campers. The funny part is that this sort of work doesn't even require coercion on my part - DS takes a lot of pride in doing real chores like trash and tent set up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sometimes it seems like kids aren't allowed to work. If the scouts want to get money out of me towards their jamborees, they'd better ask for it. I'm not going to give it to their mums.

 

Both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts set up shop outside our grocery store several times per year. As far as I can tell, the moms do most of the work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I listened to a lecture on Circe last week, How to Teach Boys and Other Kids Who Would Rather Be Playing in Forts by Anthony Pudewa, it was heavily influenced by this book and a previous one by the same author about boys. A lot of what he talked about was the actual physical differences in how boys are wired and specifically how they learn- how and what they hear and see for example.

 

I agree very much with the premise that our boys are lacking the opportunities and often the willingness to be more physical. I think the long hours of school and homework, the reorientation of our households and our electronic culture all contribute to this in a very negative way. I do not think that our culture is at the very worst in history or any other such thing but I think we are only cheating ourselves when we ignore problems under the premise that at least we are better off then previous generations in some areas.

 

I see the lack of physical outlet as a huge detriment to boys and our culture in general. All that said we are not a sports family. We have actually been against sports previously because like others we've known some real jerks and seen some ridiculous ego stroking in some sports programs. However, I can now also see great value in it as well when done well. My sil and bil are heavily involved in sports for their son and their son is a good kid, a really good kid.

 

However, I don't see that the need to be physical limited to sports. I see sports as one expression for this physicality, discipline, etc. My husband is the computer geek guy who quite often spends the day programming, staring at a computer screen. He never really played sports or any other organized activity. However, as a kid he was expected to pitch in a lot with chores- mowing the lawn, stacking wood, etc. He spent his free time exploring the woods with friends, biking for miles and miles, swimming great distances, etc. As a teen his dad bought him an old VW bug that him and his buddies spent countless hours fixing, rough riding it until it broke and then fixing it again. There are many different things that boys/men can do. My ds is in Scouts and I've actually considered dance and martial arts for him as well.

 

Our boys need the opportunity to be around other men, they need the opportunity and expectation for discipline and hard work. They need us to respect the fact that they are different in ways that we are mothers don't often "get." They need good healthy ways to get out that testosterone so it doesn't come out in all these other ways that are much more detrimental to them and society. They need us not to demonize everything male and glorify everything female in the search for equity. We can have equal respect without losing sight of our wonderful and complimentary differences.

 

Ugh and I'm out of time to complete or polish my thoughts, hopefully I've made some sense out of everything rolling around in my head.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But is the statement in bold true? I think we are pretty "modern" and yes we do use computers a lot, but my kids have done stuff that I'd consider equivalent to those things. My kids were involved with us when we renovated our house. My kids have helped with plumbing. My son has helped fix things. He knows not only how to turn on a computer, but how to build one. He can solder and make electronic components. He has hooked up a garden house. He helped me change a car battery and change spark plugs.

 

And really I'm not the most hands on sort of person, but we do these things. Who are these piles of people who are just laying around all day? I don't see it.

 

Check the gated neighborhoods. seriously. My sister and her family are those people. They don't do things, they pay people to do things. At christmas I always buy my husband some new tools, and one year my sister was like "what ARE those?", about some shiny new tool kit. Her husband sighed and said, "those are ________tools. People who know how to fix stuff have those." It was actually really a sad, pathetic moment....he obviously felt badly about not being able to do stuff like that.

 

My husband fixes our cars, remodeled our kitchen, fixed our chimmney, redoes plumbing and electrical, builds our computers, etc. And now my son, at 13 can help with most of them.

 

My son also knows a lot about fishing from my father, and is teaching my husband about that.

 

Boys do need to do these things, and thank you for reminding me to reread this thread.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

People who don't know how to fix stuff aren't doing it because they are lazy and sitting around! My dad could fix/make anything but he apparently never considered it a priority to teach me that stuff. By the time I was old enough to realize I was missing out, I was leaving for college. FIL is moderately skilled as well. I don't know why he didn't pass that on to his only son, my dh. DH has no interest sadly.

 

I wish I had the skills to pass on to my boys but I don't, and it's a lot more time consuming to figure out than if you already know what you're doing. I've attempted from time to time to have them help fix the shower/toilet/sink. They see me painting. But that's about it. I really don't know where to start and my dad lives far away, nor is he a particularly patient teacher. The boys have used the drill press and electric sander at my dad's house when we've been there but I think it takes regular exposure to develop a comfort level with that stuff, or an innate desire. My 7 year old has that desire and I gave him an old satellite receiver to take apart. He had a blast, but beyond meaningless little projects I don't know where to start. I don't have the expensive tools, the resources or the knowledge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They need us not to demonize everything male and glorify everything female in the search for equity. We can have equal respect without losing sight of our wonderful and complimentary differences.

 

Can you elaborate on this? Maybe I've been around different types of people than you, because I don't really see much of this. Although I do think expecting little kids (of either gender) to sit still at a desk all day is ridiculous.

 

Our culture practically worships athletes and rappers. They get far more attention and respect from most people than say engineers or scientists.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Really?

 

I don't agree at all.

 

My husband can fix just about anything. He is just naturally handy with things like engines and electrical items. My father didn't fix things around the house or in the car but you bet your bottom dollar if you get into a car accident you will be glad he spent his time learning to fix up humans. He is the furthest from lazy you will find anywhere.

 

Dawn

 

People who don't know how to fix stuff aren't doing it because they are lazy and sitting around!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

People who don't know how to fix stuff aren't doing it because they are lazy and sitting around! My dad could fix/make anything but he apparently never considered it a priority to teach me that stuff. By the time I was old enough to realize I was missing out, I was leaving for college. FIL is moderately skilled as well. I don't know why he didn't pass that on to his only son, my dh. DH has no interest sadly.

 

I wish I had the skills to pass on to my boys but I don't, and it's a lot more time consuming to figure out than if you already know what you're doing. I've attempted from time to time to have them help fix the shower/toilet/sink. They see me painting. But that's about it. I really don't know where to start and my dad lives far away, nor is he a particularly patient teacher. The boys have used the drill press and electric sander at my dad's house when we've been there but I think it takes regular exposure to develop a comfort level with that stuff, or an innate desire. My 7 year old has that desire and I gave him an old satellite receiver to take apart. He had a blast, but beyond meaningless little projects I don't know where to start. I don't have the expensive tools, the resources or the knowledge.

 

 

 

yes and no. Honestly, my sister and BIL would much rather just pay someone and then go out on their boat, than fix anything themselves. or better yet, buy a new one. But if you really want to learn these things youtube is your friend. Often my husband will sit up for an hour or so the night before watching youtube videos on how to fix whatever it is, then he will either rent the tools for the day or will buy inexpensive ones at harbor freight, which is a low cost tool store. My son has learned this, and now watches youtube videos to learn how to fix a keyboard, his bike, etc.

 

maybe take a class together? home depot and lowes have free saturday classes on all sorts of projects.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I too have major issues with those ideas.

 

I haven't read the book in 13 years and can't remember a lot of it, so I can't comment too much.

 

The violence and death thing seems to be innate in boys though. I once watched a study of 5-6 year old boys who were put in a room full of non-gun, non-violent toys. All boys were part of families who did not allow any of those kinds of toys in their home and were very anti-gun.

 

The parents watched in apparent horror through the one way mirror as their boys picked up anything from wooden blocks to Barbies and used them as guns to shoot each other.

 

We aren't gun advocates at all, but I do allow my boys to play airsoft with their buddies in the woods and one of my boys will be taking riflery this summer at camp.

 

Dawn

 

PS: as far as the other, it really does concern me that boys seem to think sex is a sport and drinking is a real problem among teens and college age students.

 

 

 

 

I just finished reading Boys Adrift.

 

I'd enjoy hearing from others who have read it.

 

This stood out to me:

 

"Three beliefs that they believe characterize the "toxic culture" in which today's teenagers live. They are:

1. The belief that getting drunk and using drugs is normal.

2. The belief that sex is sport.

3. The belief that violence and death are entertainment.

 

Those three beliefs are pathological. They're sick. No healthy culture has ever endorsed such beliefs. Forty years ago, teenagers who subscribed to even one of those notions might well have been sent to a psychiatrist. Today, teenagers who don't subscribe to all three notions are regarded by their peers as strange."

 

Do you agree? Disagree? Think the book is a stretch? Think it hits the nail on the head? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My brothers weren't that big into sports either. My eldest brother enjoyed it, but he was a "shrimp" and probably didn't qualify for the high school team - or maybe he just didn't want to die - for whatever reason he didn't play after 8th or 9th grade. My second brother went out but he didn't fit in (he was probably aspie) and kids in those days weren't nice about those things. My youngest brother - the biggest and strongest of all - did not choose to try out. He claimed it was because his best friend had his hip damaged for life in football.

 

My dad used to make my brothers help him with the home repairs and so on. Together my dad and older brothers rebuilt the house foundation, among many other things. He also took them for "outdoorsman" type stuff like hunting and fishing.

 

I haven't read any of the books, but I think to sum up the concept as I'm getting it, kids (boys and girls) need to do stuff that is challenging, important, and responsible. Sports on a well-managed team qualifies. Working with a conscientious parent qualifies. And so do lots of things in-between. I do think that because it's so easy to just do everything ourselves, and our kids are kinda busy doing the things kids do nowadays, we too often miss opportunities to give our kids important work to do. I think we need to be a bit more systematic about getting this done. We all have a goal in mind as far as where we want our kids to be in reading or math by x age. We should also have goals with respect to life skills and character development. In my mind, when my kids are ready to go to college (probably at age 17), they should know how to take care of a home, be caregivers of children, troubleshoot just about any problem, manage their health and time, and have a character that adds value to whatever group they join. While they are young, it's up to me to figure out what activities will foster that. A lot depends on who the leader is, as has been mentioned.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

The parents watched in apparent horror through the one way mirror as their boys picked up anything from wooden blocks to Barbies and used them as guns to shoot each other.

 

 

 

I really like the book Playful Parenting and the author's suggestion on this issue for people who are unsure of where to go on this. He recommends no interference in boys play when they turn sticks and other toys into guns because the play is coming from the boys own imagination and is filling a psychological need. On the other hand he recommends not buying specific gun toys because then the prop is dictating the play. Kids turn sticks into all kinds of toys depending on their moods, but toy guns pretty much demand gun play.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure how this became a football thread? I was trying to start a different thread after my little personal football tirade on the other thread! :)

and

 

This is why we take our kids camping and backpacking and send them on every scouting trip/activity that we can. We have to seek out opportunities for our boys to exert themselves.

 

 

I was surprised as well. I would have liked to see more about the actual book. I'm actually trying to read it right now and I must confess it's not a gripping read for me, although there are a few things that I find interesting, including your other comment I quoted. I have to wonder just how much a dad passes along to his son. My DH has never taught our son things about cars or sports because he has never been into either. My DH can change a tire but we have a mechanic for everything else. Now, DH was a Boy Scout, made Eagle Scout actually, but we've never been camping. It's just not something any of us are interested in doing. So no, my son doesn't know about those things. My DH is a software engineer basically and our son is likely to follow in his footsteps.

 

The book doesn't take into account that some boys are truly just not cut out for the stereotypical manly lifestyle. There will always be the geeks that get pushed around and picked on. The best comparison I can come up with is the 80's movie Pretty in Pink. There was a group of major geeks. My son would be in that group. I guess the author would have us force him into activities where he couldn't succeed with the idea that if he was in them, he'd acclimate. I just disagree wholeheartedly. My son always had a problem fitting into those groups of very active boys. The most active thing he did was play with one friend with Nerf guns. They'd run around outside and have a blast. But it was just the two of them. And the other boy was just like my son, a total geek. I believe it's why they became friends with one another and not with the other boys in the homeschooling groups. Even homeschoolers ostracize other kids.

 

So I guess my son does fall into the gamer category, but I don't see it as a problem. I don't try to talk it up and say it's good for him and will help him become a surgeon or anything. It's truly his major enjoyment because there simply isn't anything else. But his school work is always done and he makes fantastic grades. He plans on college although he gets scared talking about it. I blame homeschooling for that. I wonder how the author feels about homeschooling?

 

And going back to football anyway, the author made a point of saying that schools weren't meeting the needs of the boys in the physical category anyway. With a school having only one team, that leaves out a whole slew of boys that could benefit from being a player and having an outlet for his energy. He blames that fact for many kids getting into video games. So yes, I can understand that. He suggested schools have multiple teams of the same level. I'm not talking about one JV and one V team each.

 

I'll continue reading. I am on the chapter that talks about the environmental problems that could be robbing boys of their masculinity. I find that fact disturbing actually. It affects girls too. I wonder what society will be like as these kids grow up and have kids of their own.

 

Oh well. I'd like to see more opinions about the book itself. I just can't relate to the whole sports culture at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...