Monday, July 30, 2007

Are we 'anti-boy'?

An article in,9171,1647452-4,00.html Time questions whether or not we have become 'anti-boy'?

Are our boys achieving less than girls? Are they more discouraged by global economics that they have retreated into their rooms, spending hour after hour getting fat and playing video games?

We aren't surprised to read that girls out-perform boys in school,more boys drop out of school than girls and their reading levels are sub-standard. More girls than boys take the SATs, go to college or express passion for learning.

Christina Hoff Sommers, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, puts all of the pieces together and comes up with the notion that both the schools and popular culture are "failing boys, leaving them restless bundles of anxiety--misfits in the classroom and video-game junkies at home." She goes further, saying "boyhood is toxic: as a pathology."

Clearly, being functionally illiterate is a huge obstacle for later success-how can anyone, male or female get a job without learning to read? Not many.

So what can we do? First, recognize that there is, in fact, a problem. Second, we must shift our resources into spending time with our kids-the more the better.

But this is not a license to micro-manage your kids. In fact, many speculate that it is the lack of "boyhood basics" like competitions, adventures, belonging to groups and mentors that boys need-a need that some believe have remained constant for hundreds of years-that is the root of the problems boys are having.

Apparently, boys need 'structured freedom' and the opportunity to compete for or against something in order to feel good about themselves. Does that mean that these needs are in male DNA code? Or a we just looking for a justification for our boys falling behind girls-a position that they most certainly would not like?

I am the parent of a girl. I have rearranged my life to be around while she is growing up. I try and give her the freedom she needs-without compromising her safety. She likes to compete-and hates to lose. And yes, she is a passionate learner.

But is that because the schools and society are giving her more attention somehow? Is she just naturally a smart and connected kid? Am I a super-mom?

Much as I would like to think that I am the best mom on the planet, I know better. My daughter has an eviable passion for life and learning that is enhanced by the opportunities that surround her.

Why shouldn't our boys have the same experience? And why are we creating yet another divide or 'ism' in our society at a time when we should be looking for solutions to much bigger problems.

With Respect,

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