Thursday, August 2, 2007

Boys Will Be Boys?

In 2002, “Elizabeth Gilbert found The Last American Man living in a teepee in the Appalachian Mountains.” So states David Von Drehle in The Myth About Boys, Time, July 26, 2007. I don’t intend to summarize or critique this incredible article; rather, I just want to talk about boyhood, and encourage you, dear reader of my blog, to click on the above link and read it yourself.

I am left with my glass half full after reading the article and a sense of fatherly duty. It would seem, that after all the number crunching of the past ten years and statistical comparisons between boys and girls, that (1) Americas boys are being bred more dimwitted, while girls are excelling like never before, that (2) boys are an emotional, “scarred and disconnected mess,” and (3) boys are trading in their natural rugged masculinity as a result of (1) and (2) for a pathetic sense of apathy.

There may be truth to all of that, but read the article…maybe it’s all been grossly exaggerated and there is hope for my new little boy Ezekiel and his big brother Malachi.

Call me a caveman, a Neanderthal, a chauvinist pig, but I don’t want, “off the rails feminism,” or the “cold-calculus of this global economy,” to claim my boys. I want them to be immersed in the escapades detailed in The Dangerous Book for Boys. I want them to catch fish with homemade lines, build fires with magnifying glasses, hunt for snakes in my backyard, get into the occasional fist fight, build tree houses out of rotten wood, step on rusty nails that are sticking out of that rotten wood, play with swords, throw worms at girls, and give me a run for my money!

It shouldn’t be hard…I can already see the ornery masculinity budding out of ruddy little Malachi’s DNA as we speak. But I have competition—GI Joe, He-Man, and the Dukes of Hazard has been replaced by Sponge Bob, the Fairly Odd Parents, and Drake and Josh.

I love my boys. I love wrestling with Malachi and teaching him all my old tricks. It comes back to bite me now and then when a wet, slobbery finger plunges wet-willy style into my eardrum, but I know that my sweet little girls will have two constant advocates as long as they live. I don't expect to find them living in a teepee somewhere in the Appalachians...a musty tent in the backyard will do for now.


Rob said...

I think your boys are in good hands. Just make sure to balance out the GI Joes w/ a MLK Jr. poster or something ;)

RC said...

interesting article.

i have a friend who i often call a "genderist" because she makes these generalizations about guys and girls (and most of her generalizations are negative or bizarro).

I think there are definite differences between males and females...but more than whether the guys build forts, play with snakes, etc. I think and hope if I have sons that I will raise them to be bold, willing to stand up for what is right, be financially wise, to have desires to be the best.

just some of my knee jerk thoughts.

Nate Watson said...

Thanks for the feedback! Overall, the goal is to be sure and instill a sense of adventure and creativity...something that is being stripped away by a global econemy that promotes consumerism, mass media, and dare I say, video games. Nobility and chivalry seem lost...two traits wrapped that go so hand and hand with adventure and creativity. I always enjoy your comments,

RC said...

i like that concept of adventure and creativity.

those are goals i can understand and can get excited about supporting.

i'm sure you're an awesome father!

raymond said...

Nice post. Its too often that boys are discouraged from being boys, and pushed towards "safer" ways of living.

Healthy women find adventurous and creative men attractive. Anywho, my two cents.

By the way, and I am sure you have heard this before, but just because I like to be thought of as an observant person I have to mention look like Billy Boyd.

Nate Watson said...

Thanks Raymond, i appreciate the comment! Yeah, I am frequently told I look like "that one hobbit..." especially when I am riding in the arms of a giant human/tree zygomorph.

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