Concerns for Boys Today are Problems for Men in the Future

Every morning I try to listen to Al Mohler, “The Briefing” on my podcast.  It is a short 15-20 minute domestic and international news report given from a Christian perspective.  Last week I heard some concerning statistics regarding boys, especially pertaining to boys in public education.

My goal here is not to put more wood on the fire of public vs home education.  My only purpose here is to bring awareness to all of us who have boys.

Anyhow, Dr. Mohler references a few articles in his report; I am only referencing a couple here.  You want to hear his report and read the whole articles.  It will give a bit clearer context to these findings.

School Has Become Too Hostile for Boys by Time Magazine

This article points out that schools are increasingly growing in hostility towards boys; partly because of their zero-tolerance for firearms.  Boys tend to make guns out of anything and now they’re being severely penalized for it, as young as kindergarten age. This policy is rapidly leaving boys unable to express themselves as boys normally would.  As a result, the article points out that:

Boys are nearly five times more likely to be expelled from preschool than girls and that boys account for nearly 70% of suspensions, often for minor acts of insubordination and defiance.

Stop Penalizing Boys for not Being Able to Sit Still at School by The Atlantic

Here the author, a teacher, admits to failing to educate males in her class effectively.  A boy’s tendency to be distracted or less subdued, she claims, plays a huge role on how she and other teachers grade boys.  In her reflection on how boys naturally function she recognizes that our system of learning in public schools caters to the way girls learn.  She goes on to list some startling facts about boys:

  • Boys are kept back in schools at twice the rate of girls.
  • Boys get expelled from preschool nearly five times more often than girls.
  • Boys are diagnosed with learning disorders and attention problems at nearly four times the rate of girls.
  • They do less homework and get a greater proportion of the low grades.
  • Boys are more likely to drop out of school, and make up only 43 percent of college students.
  • Boys are nearly three times as likely as girls to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Considering 11 percent of U.S. children–6.4 million in all–have been diagnosed with a ADHD, that’s a lot of boys bouncing around U.S. classrooms.

Okay, so boys are not only not keeping up with girls – they are falling way behind.  I tell you, as a Christian woman who champions, celebrates, and promotes gender differences, it is still a mystery to me how boys function. Every day, as I homeschool all four of my boys, there is a daily fight for my sons’ attention. So I’m not surprised at all that public school teachers find it easier to penalize boys for poor behavior with lower grades.

The conclusion Dr. Mohler suggested was that all this is resulting due to our society’s ever increasing intolerance for gender difference.  Thus, teachers don’t want to recognize that boys have different temptations than girls and that they learn (in most cases) different than girls as well.  I think that is true, but I don’t think it is the whole picture.

I would argue though that as moms, women teachers (at home or otherwise) it is our temptation to want to crush the aggressiveness boys display at play.  We want to obliterate any hint of restlessness in them.  We want them to be subdued, sit pretty, and listen.  We want their minds to work like ours and not argue with our logic or methods. Yes, we need to recognize that our society is grossly effeminized, but we also need to realize that we, as mothers/female teachers, can unintentionally do the same!

God made boys to be different than girls. They need different things than girls do and they learn in different styles.  BUT “There is a gift in boys.” So, as mothers, teachers, etc. of boys, let us not lose sight of the end goal – future godly MEN.  To fail to recognize that boys function differently than girls, is to hinder their confidence and competence as future men.

Comments

  1. Gaila Roper says:

    Yes, little boys are very different, even from the womb…..They need structure, hobbies, and one on one instruction. But don’t forget unstructured times, especially outdoors, and even in the winter! Sit with them on a blanket in the shade, and teach them to listen to the wind, birds, traffic, lawn mowers–and talk about it. Teach them to use imaginations with clouds. Turn them loose in your backyard–after of course you have had them side by side with you teaching them what creatures live under the rocks(friendly vs. unfriendly), and teach them at a young age the proper names for plants & flowers; names of the trees; identify birds by their songs. Two and three years of age are not too young. Let them get dirty, play in the sandbox, the muddy puddles and hide in the bushes while chasing Gramie. To think I can be outrun by a three year old! Am exhausted, but what a way to live! And use these opportunities to turn their hearts to the God who loves them, and made them, and all that they see. Charlotte, the spider, in “Charlotte’s Web”, stated of her children, ‘they are my greatest work’.

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