Saturday, July 22, 2006

Boy Crisis

Actually, I wasn't going to link to this, highlighted by Glenn Reynolds, because it's old news. Schools are modelled now for girls or very mature boys (and how many mature boys do you know? men?). Right.

Because the P.C. view is treat everyone same-same, no matter the problem on the one hand, or label someone dysfunctional on the other hand, kids either get underchallenged and undereducated or simply left behind. Let's see autism, aspergers, ADHD, ADD, manic-depression, depression, anxiety, and a host of other problems will land a kid in Special Ed where the expectations and accountability is so low, kids get stuck in educational hell for years, maybe their whole career with no escape. At 18 they are dumped on society with no skills and no education and despising institutions of learning.

There is a boy crisis. There are a number factors and most will tick different constituencies off. Oh well. Boys need:

  1. Activity. It's called recess. It's called twenty push-ups when they goof off. Recess is now routinely taken away from kids as punishment. Aren't these educators the ones so glib about no spanking? Aren't these the people who value "positive reinforcement"? Huh. That's not what I see. I see punishment for everything at schools. And the punishment is cruel to everyone, but especially to boys. Get their bodies busy. Parents aren't left off the hook either. Afraid of telling their beasts "no" or just plain tired, parents allow their kids to sit like automotons in front of the tube, watching stupidness or playing video games. Boys need to be outside, running around and playing.
  2. Fathers. Shocking, I know. Boys need a man to model themselves after. Men tend to have two emotions: happy and anger. It's a matter of intensity. When afraid, they get pissed off. For men, it is emotion management. The more highly evolved guys show more range, but not much. Boys need to learn to manage how they feel. When they see a father not hit, when upset, they learn to restrain themselves, too. When they see their father give a hug for encouragement, they learn that it is okay for a guy to hug. A mother saying "it's okay to hug" does not hold the same power as actually seeing a man hugging. This is obvious, people. Why must it be spelled out? The other extreme--whiny, sniveling, "expressive" boys is unproductive. These boys will be scorned in the real world. Can we just acknowledge the differences, folks? Men, how many of you feel comfortable weeping to your boss? That's what I thought. We don't need to encourage it in young boys, they won't have the chops in the real world.
  3. Changed expectations. Not lowered expectations. Certain tasks, though, are developmentally inappropriate. Fine motor, reading comprehension, and artistic expression are (often, not always) delayed in boys. Why must anyone know how to write cursive in second grade? Learning to write is challenging enough for boys. Why all this early pressure on less important things?
  4. Mothers. Something for everyone on this list. Boys need their mothers--especially when they are little. While boys may act tougher, my opinion is that boys are more fragile at the early ages--maybe always. Since their emotional breadth isn't sophisticated they need their moms to help explain, interpret and make sense of the world. Contrary to stereotypes, moms often teach the basketball, baseball, etc. They used to be there to do it.
  5. Discipline. With everyone working, no one wants to come home and lay down the law. The boy gets older and bristles at any boundaries. At Day Care it is survival of the fittest, most aggressive and domineering. He enters school an emotionally immature, unsettled, agitated kid. The school, besides taking away recess, is impotent. Teachers don't have the time, patience, or ability to deal with the challenging kid. Off to Special Ed he goes. Parents and teachers don't want the hard work of making expectations explicit, enforcing agreements and then deciding consequences. It's tough. Drugs easy. Medication makes the child the problem. 90% of the time, probably more, it is the parents and teachers who are the problem. And of the 90% of the time, it's the parents who don't know what the heck they are doing. There is a reason for this. Many in my generation came out of families who viewed spanking as a pasttime. Spanking, hitting, for everything. Today's parents don't want to raise their kids this way, but have swung to the other end of the pendulum. The kids rule the roost. Kids are very uncomfortable when they rule. They get scared. Their behavior gets worse.
  6. Less Homework. So do girls. I cannot tell you how peeved I get having to sit down with a second-grader to do homework after he is totally worn out from school. It was hard enough to sit there for eight hours. Then he has to sit for an hour or two at home? HE IS FRIGGIN EIGHT YEARS OLD! Okay, I'm digressing. But what is up with all the homework? When the school has him for eight-nine hours, there is absolutely no excuse for homework. None. It is counter-productive and makes boys, especially, hate, neigh, despise school and learning in general.
  7. Love. All children are sensitive to whether they are loved or not. There is a systemic virus in the public school system and it's called: Boyophobia. The old saying "boys will be boys" at least acknowledged the difference between the sexes. No more. These days "boys will be girls" or boys get left behind. Boys are not inherently defective, contrary to popular notion and funnelling that vibe towards boys is so counterproductive.
Maybe the solution is separate education. A certainly helpful solution would be more men teachers. Although I don't know what man in his right mind would be an elementary teacher with all the potential for false accusations. There is precisely one man teacher at my kids school: the gym teacher. My son loves him. The teacher seems to "get" my son and the rest of the boys, too. The rest of the teachers are women. The place is awash in estrogen. It's a great school. The principal is fantastic. Her staff is exemplary. It is just unbalanced. There needs to be more men.

If a boy doesn't have a man in the house, if a boy doesn't see a man in school, if a boy doesn't go to church (where presumably there are some men leaders), how is he going to learn how to be a good man? So the first men he gets to model are the hyper-male sports coaches in High School or the hyper-female male educators at the college level (not that they all are, but come on, you have to buy, or pretend to buy, the feminist and other p.c. crap to even make it at those levels)? That's assuming the little chap even decides to go to college.

The way things are going, he'll be sitting in his parents basement playing virtual reality games while the world goes by and so does his wasted life.


Jessica said...

Amen, amen.... good stuff

Anonymous said...

Huge problem, excellent ideas