Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Boys to Men or Boys to Killers? A Home School Mom's Take

First Things has a nice little article on the gentle art of rearing boys - realities versus the pseudo/philosophical ideals of the experts of the last generation. It is entitled The Killer Instinct by Sally Thomas, a home school mom from North Carolina. Below are a couple of paragraphs from the article.
Girls may like weapons, but boys like the actions that weapons enable. They like shooting and slashing and stabbing at things, and if they don’t have anything to shoot, slash, or stab with, punching is good, too. Hand a girl a rock, and she will make a pet out of it. Hand a boy a baby doll, and—if no adult is looking—he will point its head at somebody and say, “Pow.”

The default mode of many parents is to be as alarmed by this proclivity in their sons as my friend was by the deer hunters. To be sure, it is wearying, sometimes, to live with a person whose way of greeting you is to line you up in imaginary sights. I can see that, after a while, if you didn’t just become oblivious to it, an obvious fascination with shooting things might come to seem like one of those warning signals we all read about: If Johnny does X, call Dr. Y. It used to be that parents waited for Johnny to start torturing the cat before they worried. My generation of parents seems to worry that owning a rubber-band shooter will make Johnny want to torture the cat.
From my own observation, I was perhaps of the last generation to be raised in the "boys will be boys" climate. The movement to 'equalize' boys and girls that has resulted in the documented stunting of young males' development over recent decades, was the result of a confusion between the materialistic parochialism that had developed in twentieth century Western society and the natural differences between males and females. This confusion influenced many areas of Western culture, particularly in anxiety that boys might actually behave like boys (a sort of 'cultural emasculation') and the consequent deforming of the 'ideal' of what young females should become (an equally healthy 'cultural defininization' of girls). As a former teacher, I have witnessed this unnatural exercise unfold in the classroom and on the playground, wherein boys instincts were stifled as 'aggressive'. To give food for thought, I recall it being raised as a concern when one year's class had only boys and members of the administration were desperate to remedy this potentially dangerous development. Of course, the boys did just fine; in fact, possibly becoming the highest achievers I ever had the privilege to teach.

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