September 30, 2008

Best Buy and Teens?

Best Buy is now supporting teenagers. No, not giving them money to buy geek toys, but in helping them to feel good about being teenagers. In what is both a subtle marketing strategy and a website dedicated to teen empowerment, they have launched

On this site teens are encouraged to share their opinions, and to step forward and make a difference in their schools and communities. They can even cast votes on where Best Buy donates some of it's charitable funds.

They are currently running what's called the IMHO @15 Survey. They are asking teens for their perspectives on the upcoming presidential election, and more. They also promise to summarize the collected data and share it with people and groups in positions to act on behalf of teens
and ensure their collective voice is heard. Totally cool.
They have a chat room where teens can have discussions about the current state of US politics and the candidates, and in the tradition of social networking sites, there is a place teens can post "profiles" and a photo.

There is even a blog teens can post to with categories like Politics, Environment, Music, Relationships, Technology, Games, and Movies.

It's barely off the ground, but it's an interesting approach to teen-esteem . . . and brand recognition. I love the subtlety of the phrase, "How would your parents know what to buy without you?" Now that's real teen empowerment.

September 28, 2008

What Are We Doing to Our Boys

In a recent Newsweek article titled, "Struggling School-Age Boys," the author says that today, ". . . one in five boys has such serious behavioral and emotional issues that their parents are talking it over with their pediatrician . . ." Apparently, the problem is that we've been blaming boys for their behavioral problems and the medicating them for ADHD as a solution. The more complicated but much more kind option is to look at what's happened to boys over the last ten or so years in schools and in their families.

The article suggests we may not be raising and educating our boys in ways that are appropriate to their natural processes of development. Maybe, just maybe, the wholesale drugging of boys isn't really the answer. Maybe the world of constant activities, competitive pressures, little creative play, and lots of study just isn't working for a whole lot of boys.

You can read the article at this link. The author of the article, Peg Tyre, is also the author of the book, "The Trouble With Boys: A Surprising Report Card On Our Sons, Their Problems at School and What Parents & Educators Must Do." Click here to find it at

September 23, 2008

Enough Said

Dear Earl,

I got an e-mail from a friend today pointing me to your Man-Making blog and it made me sit down and cry. This is so needed.

I raised two children as a single mother, the oldest being a boy who took his life at 26. He hungered for his father all his life and his father just couldn't be there for him as a good mentor. It was terrible to be with his father the day we read our son's suicide note. Six months later his father took his own life.

Now I try and help my daughter and her two girls try and understand and to go on.

God bless you for your great contribution to our society. I hope men get the message.

All Gods Blessings


September 4, 2008

Group Mentoring with Boys

I'm a huge proponent of groups of men and boys hanging out together and having the occasional adventure. That's how it used to be in tribal cultures, and in small agricultural communities. The men were around, visible, and they often engaged young males in the work and play of the community. When the men went away to cities, factories, and offices, all that changed. But that's another topic.

An amazing amount of man-making goes on when boys can regularly see men in action and learn from their behavior. When a boy feels his body chemistry changing, when he has a clear sense that manhood is calling, often without realizing it, he's naturally drawn to the men around him for lessons and role modeling. That's when group mentoring can have a powerful impact in a boy's life.

In my programs, I often get questions about what can men do with boys. My answer is anything, something simple, and not necessarily a big deal. The most important thing is for you and your men friends to be yourselves and allow the boys to hang out or tag along. For boys, a group of interested men represents a huge smorgasbord of learning opportunities. Nothing special has to happen, and boys will get what they need. That said, if men want to do something with boys, there are a multitude of options.

At this link you'll find a PDF article titled What To Do With Boys. It lists a sampling of the many activities I've heard about that have resulted in successful group mentoring adventures. I also list a few questions to ask boys following the activity to deepen the man-making lessons available.

I'm pretty sure that when reading this list, the boy in you will get excited and want to head out. You could honor him and release your inner man-maker by getting your buddies together, finding a couple of young lads, doing something, and seeing what happens.