Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Dangerous Book for Boys

This is just to let you know, no big surprise here, that the Dangerous Book for Boys is officially approved by the Smith household. Bought it, gave it to the kids. They like it fine, though there is a bit of the been there, done that. If you've been raising your boys right, this book contains few surprises.

I can't resist adding a few tips of my own. FWIW.

Send your boys to an all boys' high school. It's great. They can catch up on all that other stuff in college. Ask yourself. Did your high school girl friend do you any good? Mine didn't. Don't get me started. Personally, I think not dating until you graduate college has something to be said for it. Now that I have kids of my own, the whole idea of arranged marriage makes a lot more sense. I am not kidding.

Get them involved in violent sports. Football is OK if they're big. Lacrosse is awesome. You get to hit people with sticks. It's encouraged. Hard to beat that. Alternatively, martial arts, especially grappling. BJJ culture is not a lot of that, be at peace, little grasshopper, and more, this really works. I'm against motor sports, but that probably works too.

Watch lots of manly movies. Lord of the Rings is an education in boy-ness in its own right. They should be required to read the books, of course. There are lots of books in the fantasy genre that emphasize adventure and manly virtues.

Set a good example. Don't become a couch potato, lay about turd yourself.

Dogs. Own at least one, two or more is better. Dogs teach boys about a lot of things. They are great companions. They teach boys a lot about love. I don't know about horses. They might be better for girls.

Let them play with guns. Not real guns, but airsoft, paintball, all that stuff. It's fun. If they want to learn how to shoot, fine. But obviously that has to be done responsibly.

Give them jobs to do at home. Make them pitch in. I'm not sure why, but this seems to make a big difference in all kinds of ways.

I'm against explosives, playing with fire and all that. Too dangerous. We were constantly blowing things up when I was a kid, but we're lucky no one was seriously hurt.

Protect them against mean, boy-hating teachers. They are absolutely out there. This is especially important when they are young and impressionable.

That's about it. Maybe I should write a book and get in on this craze.

THIS is funny, from a review linked to above:

One literacy expert reviewed several junior-high social studies texts and concluded: "Many students may well end up thinking that the West was settled chiefly by females, most often accompanied by their parents."

In her alarming book, "The Language Police," education historian Diane Ravitch describes how "sensitivity and bias committees" in our leading publishing houses now routinely expunge from textbooks and standardized tests all mention of potentially upsetting topics. Two major publishing companies specifically interdict references to frightening animals such as rats, mice, roaches and snakes.

Which reminds me -- another good idea is to nurture a boy's quite natural interest in bugs, snakes and so on into a more general appreciation of Nature, in all of its fascinating disgustingness and beauty. To wit, this DVD collection of the BBC series Life in the Undergrowth is unbelievably good. Its astonishing record among many, many others, of slugs mating, records the most alarming, disgusting and yet fascinating form of sexual congress I have even seen captured on film.

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