Earlier this month, Johann and I came across program called, "Oh Boy! Raising Boys." Considering we had just had two weeks of Henry having nursery issues we were tuned in immediately. Here is a snippet of what the show was about:
Boys' imaginations can take them from a backyard to a battlefield where they will pretend to be heroes or villains as they rescue and conquer - and all before lunch. And yet many parents worry, wondering if their sons are simply normal, active boys, or turning into potentially violent men. Chuck and Deborah Hart of Littleton, Colorado, have four active boys. From breakfast to bedtime, these parents are on their feet, running after lively children. In this episode, we'll look at this family's well-studied approach to raising boys and talk to educators and experts who believe that society needs to have a new heart for boys.
Every single day for the past, oh I dunno, 18 months I have asked myself about Henry and his level of activity. Even when he was 6 months old we would hear from babysitters, "Wow, he is,uh, you know-active!"
Sometimes it is hard for me to accept this stage (apparently a very long stage since he is a boy) of needing to express and experience things physically. I am trying really hard to be as kind about his mistakes as I am about other kid's but for some reason we always expect our kids to not react when their toy is stolen and to not hit when their upset even if other kids do. I guess I need to realize that is a lot of pressure for a 2 year old; not that it negates him needing to be taught and given consequences, but it also doesn't mean he is some mutant demon child. =)
Anywho. Some of the interesting things the program said that I have been wondering about, though I am not convinced in all areas:
-Boys inherently want to compete. If you don't provide it, they'll find it. Who can eat their cereal the fastest, who can throw this rock the furthest, who can burp the loudest, etc.
-There is an all boys' high school where they use teaching techniques that make it easier for boys to learn like, more tactile teaching (shooting hoops to answer a question), brighter lighting (apparently their sight isn't as good?) louder speaking while teaching (hearing issues apparently?) and classroom arrangements are more organic and less structured. Supposedly all the teaching techniques that cater to boys' way of learning in no way negatively affects female students learning.
-The way the education system is structured puts boys at a great risk for failure, not because of lack of ability but because of the way it forces them to learn against their natural inclinations.
-Boys energy and physicality used to be of great value in society but now our society is dominated by more domestic concerns, duties and physical prowess and work outside of a sport is valued much less. Hence boys are seen as having attributes too far outside what society wants and are seen as unruly and too physical.
One of the things the mom of the four boys said was that has stopped questioning what her boys think is fun and just learning to go with it, ie-throwing sticks into the ground, rocks into the pond etc. I think that is something I need to work on and allow Henry to just be the little boy he is and not try to reign in things are aren't harmful but just nonsensical to me. Here's to raising a little boy!