(50.) Raise the Alarm – Boys in Danger

(50.) Raise the Alarm – Boys in Danger

(50.) Raise the Alarm – Boys in Danger.

“It has become fashionable to attribute pathology to millions of healthy male children. We are turning against boys and forgetting a simple truth: that the energy, the competitive and corporal daring of normal, decent males is responsible for much of what is right in the world… and that traditional male traits – constrained by virtues of valor, honor and self-sacrifice – are essential to the well-being and safety of our society.” (Christina Hoff Summers, The War Against Boys).

Sad Stats about Boys

(1.) 60% of college students are women, with the number of men in college steadily declining. For the past thirty years, virtually all educational progress has gone to the girls. (Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education).

(2.) Three out of four “slow readers” are boys, who also receive 70% of the ‘F’s.

(3.) Among students who stutter, boys outnumber girls four to one.

(4) 80% of children diagnosed with “behavioral disorder” are boys.’

(5.) Boys are three times as likely to be labeled “learning disabled,” and constitute 70% of “special education” programs.

(6.) Boys outnumber girls on Ritalin, nine to one.

(7.) Boys are ten times more likely to be diagnosed with a serious emotional disability.

(8.) Six of the nine deadliest mass shootings since 2018 were by young men 21 years or younger.

(9.) 70% of all suicides are men.

(10.) 73% of juvenile delinquents are boys. 85% of children incarcerated in the penal system are male.

(11.) 93% of total prison population is men. Men are over eight times more likely than women to be incarcerated. The vast percentage of those boys who can’t read by the 4th grade go on into the prison pipeline.

(12.)  70% of all opioid overdoses are male.

Endangered Males: Society is Making Life Difficult for Boys

“The level of testosterone in any boy – and the way that testosterone affects him – has less impact on his behavior than how the boy is loved, nurtured, and shaped by his parents and by the context of the society within which he lives. The hormone may well predict a certain type of energy in boys, but the way in which that energy is funneled and expressed lies in our hands.”  (Dr. William Pollack, Real Boys).

(1.) Many schools are geared for female success. Brain research records at least 100 differences between the male and female brain. Each gender is hard-wired to learn in different ways. Yet far too many classrooms are not set up to encourage male learners:

… Students are physically inactive and are discouraged from getting out of their seats;

… Despite a natural “developmental delay” (compared to girls) in reading and writing, boys are still asked to learn the same things at the same time in the same way as the girls;

… Much of the learning is done passively through sitting, watching, listening;

… There is a minimum of risk-taking or sense of adventure;

… Objective grade-consciousness discourages visual, multi-sensory methods;

… There is often a focus on feelings during discussions, neglecting abstract symbols, tangible objects, or more competitive methods like debates, games, or problem-solving;

… Test-taking is preferred over problem-solving, which places a priority on verbal reasoning without also rewarding spatial thinking or tangible methods in assessments;

… The natural restlessness of a boy is often disallowed or punished, and he is labeled as rebellious, attention deficit, less intelligent, or not meeting potential.

(2.) Modern society is increasingly dependent upon traditional female traits. There is an alarming trend that today’s males are developing a deeper and deeper pattern of disengaging from modern life and not knowing where to fit in, whether it’s civic involvement, or the labor force, or family duties as husband and father. Academic disadvantage is only a piece of the puzzle. Males are simply not as prized or affirmed as one would like in today’s world. “Girls are better able to deliver in terms of what modern society requires of people – paying attention, abiding by rules, being verbally competent, and dealing with interpersonal relationships in the workplace.” (J. Garbarino, Professor of Human Development, Cornell U.).

(3.) Adult men are absent in terms of a child’s early/adolescent development. Here we are in the “fatherless generation,” due to the emotional distance of workaholic dads, abandonment, single-parenting, etc. Besides that, 90% of elementary school teachers are women. Schools, homes, and churches desperately need men to complement these women in a boys’ intellectual, social, emotional development. A boy needs to identify with, be mentored by, and bonded to a healthy man in order to know what manhood looks like and what is expected of a mature man.

(4.) Home life for many boys tends to delay healthy male development. When a boy experiences the deadly combination of overprotective moms and distant dads (stereotypes to be sure), his natural instinct to be physical, spirited, adventuresome, resourceful, risk-taking and problem-solving is stifled. In order to grow up, young boys need to gain confidence by being challenged to show physical courage, to make decisions, to be held accountable, to learn responsible independence, and to be affirmed for their male traits.

(5.) Male celebrities, rather than true heroes, are still honored in popular culture. Many of the famous men who boys look up to are superstars or high-profile achievers who specialize in personality or a noticeable ability, but with no reference to character, moral depth, or purposeful courage. Rather than authentic male heroism, America seems to idolize everything from the self-absorbed ladies’ man to the type-A workaholic; from the insecure authoritarian to the brainless hoodlum; from the slam-dunk artist with a posse to the racist rapper who hates women; from the dumb and dumber dude to the hypermacho man. How about King Arthur or Tim Tebow instead?

(6.) The suburban life tends to emasculate men. When a typical suburban male wants to accomplish something rewarding or enjoy a demanding challenge around the home, there aren’t too many options, especially for those who are not blessed with handyman skills. There aren’t many escape valves for a man’s adventuresome restlessness, for a pioneering sense of independence, for a physically demanding frontier in which to roam around, take reasonable risks, and slay a few dragons.

(7.)  There is a loss of close male friendships. To grow into manhood, boys need deep personal male friendships and comfortable, vigorous male camaraderie, on the order of the deep friendship of David and Jonathon in the Bible. “Male bonding” is often limited to the false perception of gayness, or the beer-guzzling buddies who ogle girls and generally behave badly. In reality, healthy male friendships help move young men past adolescence into a more mature adulthood.

(8.)  Entertainment for young men is increasingly passive and individual. Young men during and after the school years tend to spend a lot of time in spectator sports, watching TV and movies, video games, computer, smart phone. And rather than a much needed physical or social outlet with other boys/men in team sports or competitions, many are content with solitary activities like biking, weights, jogging, the treadmill, etc. Men need physical challenges, mental stimulation and social contact, or they go soft, distant, distracted, restless, bored, dissatisfied and unfulfilled.

(9.) The Christian church is not attracting boys or young men. The Christian faith is often viewed by men as too “soft,” with the “turn the other cheek” ethos unappealing to their sense of strong, heroic independence. The church services themselves tend to make men restless and involve a lot of sitting and staying in one place. Christianity is not perceived as adventuresome, or physically demanding or exciting. Since the church rightly focuses on dependence on God and interdependence with others, it does not appeal to those men who perhaps have an overinflated view of their need for independence. Sermons tend to involve the weakest part of a man’s learning style… verbal reasoning, active listening, inactive learning. Church is often viewed as more or less irrelevant to their daily existence, and are content to lead a good life versus a holy life. Men haven’t been given the vision that it is exciting and heroic to become a saint.