As the father of two active boys, I need to remind myself regularly of the truth that is found in the following video.
Boys are not like girls and it’s past time we stop treating them in the same way with the same expectations. Boys tend to be more active, sillier and LOUDER. That’s not abnormal and attempts to medicate away or stifle normal boyish behavior is incredibly detrimental to our kids. Yes, I understand and agree there are circumstances in which medication is appropriate, but I’m certain not nearly as often as it is used. Age and maturity will usually take care of most of those problems in due time.
Maybe, like me, you’ve fallen into the trap of placing unrealistic expectations on your boys from time-to-time. I believe we need to re-think how we’re treating our boys and how we can let them be boys while still maintaining reasonable expectations for their general behavior (and we must be honest that we sometimes fail miserably at the latter, as well).
Our goal for our boys is that they grow up to be strong, godly gentlemen. It is impossible for that to happen if I do not allow them to run a lot, climb trees, explore, wrestle, fall (repeatedly), make noise and make mistakes, all the while teaching them what they did wrong and how to avoid the same results again without crushing their spirit because they made them in the first place! I have failed at that more than once, which has given me the opportunity to show them what repentance looks like. By now they should have a thorough understanding of that concept!
Boys aren’t girls.
They mature slower and learn differently. My neighbor, who is an elementary school teacher, told me just last week that modern-day schools aren’t designed for the learning styles of boys. They tend to be most conducive to girls. When I asked why, she stated almost the exact same things that I heard in this video. She said they don’t allow enough time for kids to play and exert pent-up energy, they expect quiet all the time (which is nearly impossible when the former is not provided for) and punish them when they can’t. I’m starting to understand this as my youngest bundle of talkative energy does much better after he’s unloaded a couple thousand kilowatts. Most of the time, he doesn’t get that opportunity at school.
Will the situation change?
I don’t know, but let’s start the conversation with each other and with our teaching professionals and see. I agree with Ms. Sommers that something needs to change in our expectations and practices in teaching children and unless we are prepared to address it, we’ll continue to see mal-adjusted young men failing to reach their God-given potential because we failed to help them do so in a way in which they understand. We (and their teachers!) need to learn to “speak their language.” When we do, I think we’ll start seeing little, immature boys becoming young, mature men, ready to meet the challenges of life with confidence and intelligence. If that happens, we will all benefit…but perhaps, especially, our little girls!
Feel free to share your reaction to the video or your own story and thoughts on raising healthy boys.