A Belated Book Review and Commentary
This Summer I finally finished reading a book I have had on my night stand for over a year.
The book is called: The Minds of Boys Saving Our Sons from Falling behind in School and Life by Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens.
With balancing family life and work, initially reading about neuro-biology and the extensive results of boy-research was not high on my list, but still I wanted to take time, and read and absorb the information in this book closely, and as I thought it would, I found after completing the book that it did have valuable insight and information.
Overall it was an interesting book, and one in which passages will remain with me for years. It included ways for me, as a parent of an 8-year old son, to understand and influence how my own boy is doing in terms of the correct learning environment, how boys in general are motivated, how to use the arts and athletics to teach boys (whether or not they are sensitive boys, aggressive boys, restless or bored boys), the potential options for separate sex education at crucial periods of a boy's life, and how to best utilize the essential role of the parent, teacher, and community.
There are several books on the market which have been written along similar lines: Boys are in trouble. There is a crisis with Boys. We have been focusing so much on girls that we have forgotten boys, etc.
Soon after reading the book I learned of articles and blog posts saying that the "trouble with boys" explained by experts in sociology and psychology and more throughout the last several years is "mostly a MYTH".
But, "Mostly a Myth" is a questionable phrase. Is it a myth or isn't it?
Well, according to who you speak with about what particular period in time and about which particular group of boys you are referring to it is true or false.
As a mother struggling every week if not everyday to understand and be the best advocate of her son's future, I can't help think of the statistics that still exist - boys receive up to 70% of the Ds and Fs in classrooms, boys create 90% classroom discipline problems, 80% of all high school dropouts are boys, and millions of American boys are on Ritalin and other control drugs.
Although the Gurian/Stevens book came out in 2005 and this is 2007, the book is one in which I felt a calling to read and am glad I read, even with articles such as that from Time Magazine The Myth About Boys by David Von Drehle which describes the more recent statistics and research during recent years. Regardles, I stop and think "How can I not benefit from reading a book called “The Minds of Boys” when there are people in my life like my son, my friends’sons, my sister’s son, my brother, and my husband.
With my son, I constantly question if I'm bringing him up right or wrong, with enough structure or challenge. My son is a clever boy, with tons of energy, endless curiousity, but a need to push the envelope to the limit. When my husband and I fulfill those needs for discovery, learning and structure I wonder if what we're doing will help bring about the outcome we want.
The books, articles, and blogs listed below are just a few pieces of literature that might help you find validation, or prove your theories less than 100% right.
For more information on this issue visit:
Time Magazine - By DAVID VON DREHLE
The Myth About Boys
Blogs/Message Board Threads:
Christina Hoff Sommers, The War Against Boys
Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens, The Minds of Boys Saving Our Sons from Falling behind in School and Life
S.Matteo, Editor SearchMothers.com