Posted on 21/01/2016

About A Boy: Part 5

This week’s blog is the last in the series About a Boy.

Last week I gave one factor outside school that influences boys. Before concluding, let me give two more.

The need for positive role models.
Boys need older males to look up to and to aspire to become. When I was growing up, my three heroes were my dad, my uncle and my grandpa. Between them, they were hard working, unselfish, kind, could tell good stories, laughed a lot, enjoyed sport and were strict. They treated everyone the same and liked people for who they were not what they did. My dad always made sure my mum, my sisters and I were okay before he looked to himself. Having ‘stuff’ wasn’t important but people, family, friends and a house full of laughter was. These were the qualities I thought were ‘manly’ – and when I was older I wanted to be just like these ‘manly’ men.

It is important for all boys to have male role models in their life that they can look up to and get their values from. If there is no dad at home, grandfathers or uncles need to assume the role. Otherwise there is a danger boys will find male role models who leave them thinking that laziness, not caring, just looking after number one, going for the easy option, having no respect for authority, treating women however you feel, but all the while somehow getting rich, is what being a man is all about. Positive male role models are vital. As dads, uncles and grandpas, we need to step up to the plate!

Challenge
If we want boys to become real men, men of character, we need to understand that it doesn’t just happen. We have to help them to become such men. To do this we have to challenge them and give them opportunities to prove themselves and show us what they are made of. Overcoming difficulties ‘maketh the man’. We mustn’t spoil them, pander to them, and make it easy for them all the time. If you want to see what your boy can do, don’t give him everything on a plate. Telling your son to just get on with it may be the best thing you ever tell him.

How is your son ever going to be a problem solver, resilient, and brave if he is never put in situations where he can be those things? He can’t learn it from a book, and mum and dad always bailing him out and making it easy for him certainly won’t help him. It’s why I think our time on our temporary site is invaluable. It’s not always easy, we’ve sometimes had to just ‘get on with it’, and we – boys included – have come up with some practical and imaginative solutions for making it work better.

In Conclusion
Returning to the question raised in my first blog in this series, do boys miss out by not being educated alongside girls? To parents, boys and anyone else asking why FBS won’t ‘get girls’, I question in return: What do we want? Boys with character, real gentlemen, who work hard, are sporty, healthy, have ‘can do’ attitudes, are fearless, brave, full of fun and daring, or boys that are disengaged, lazy, give up, think it’s cool to get into trouble, bullyish, unkind and prefer games consoles to life? Which boys are more likely to ‘get girls’? And more than that, which education better prepares them to become men who will, I hope, change and influence this community, our country, even the world, for the better.

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