“The Dangerous Book” – a best-selling celebration of boyhood past – has tapped into a larger anxiety about raising young men. Observers of the boy “crisis” contend that families, schools and popular culture are failing boys, leaving them restless bundles of anxiety – misfits in the classroom and video-game junkies at home. They suffer from an epidemic of “anomie,” one psychologist says, adrift in a world of change without the help they need to navigate. There are statistics to back up every point in the sad litany, but also people eager to flay nearly every statistic. For instance: Is it bad that more boys are in special education, or it is better that they are getting extra help from specially trained teachers? And haven’t boys always tended to be more restless than girls under the discipline of high school and more likely to wind up in jail? Ultimately, the subject of boys is a bog of sociology in which a clever researcher can unearth evidence to support almost any point of view. This field, like so many others, has been infiltrated by the left-right political noise machine: Our boys have become cannon fodder in the unresolved culture wars waged by their parents and grandparents. But with fresh eyes on fresh facts, more upbeat conclusions are apparent. Worrying about boys – reading and writing books about them, fretting over dire trends and especially taking more time to parent them – is paying off. The next step is to let boys really blossom.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
The Myth about Boys
A nice summary of the article of the same title by David von Drehle appearing in the July 26 issue Time Magazine, sent via Steve Mintz, with my favorite line in bold: