July 2, 2006

Progress & hot boy articles

Thanks for your patience as I work on the Man-Making manuscript. I am two-thirds through the first professional edit, have some exciting drafts of the cover, and still think a book will be out by the end of summer. In the mean time, I couldn't ignore a couple of articles in the recent media about this topic.

Esquire Magazine, in it's July issue, has a good article by Tom Chiarella titled, The Problem with Boys. It is another chance to visit the sobering statistics pointing to the need to do something for boys. The author suggests we use the women and girls movement as a model, and clearly calls men to action. He says, "Women forced the issue with girls. Men have to do the same with boys", and, "Men have to be willing to care about the way boys are being treated, taught, and cared for in this country and advocate for them."

He clearly lays the problem at men's feet when he says, "
Go talk to boys. You don't have to use baby talk with them or buy them things. You just have to listen to them. Ask them who they are. The answers they give may not always make sense, but talk to enough of them and you will surely realize that boys themselves are not the problem. And it sure as hell isn't women or girls. The problem is men."

In another article in the Washington Post newspaper, the writer actually wonders if boys are in trouble at all. The article titled,
Study Casts Doubt On the 'Boy Crisis by Jay Mathews, points to the improvements (mostly white) boys are having in subjects like reading and math in recent years. He claims that, "The real story is not bad news about boys doing worse," the report says, "…it’s good news about girls doing better." He does go on to say Black and Hispanic boys are having serious academic problems, and he does allow that it could get better for all boys.

What he is describing is some of the early theories and early research that mark the beginning of our cultural wake up call about how much boys need help and how we might help them. Doing so will lift boys out of invisibility, and help them achieve their full human potential. Doing that, will help boys, men, girls, women and our communities.

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