Saturday, August 1, 2009

Boys, boys, boys

I just started reading The Wonder of Boys by Michael Gurian and this little bit just really got me, I think it's SO true:

Once a mother of two sons in a parent's cooperative put this question to me:
"You men like bottom lines," she quippred," so I'll ask you for a bottom line. In 25 words or less, what does a boy need?" Unprepared to give her an answer in so few words, I tried an old teacher's trick. "You have all the wisdom," I joked back, pointing to the group. "You tell me!"
After a long and fruitful dialogue, her's what we came up with:

1. nurturing parents and caregivers
2. a clan or tribe
3. spiritual life
4. important work
5. mentors and role models
6. to know the rules
7. to learn how to lead, how to follow
8. an adventure, and a best friend to have it with
9. lots of games
10. an important role in life

That just makes me want to start bawling... so beautiful, so true, so potent. I hope I can provide those things for my little guys. I think I better write this down and stick it on the refrigerator door, just to be sure. Help them to feel vital, engaged, and help them manage that boundless energy... Or maybe they don't need my help so much as just my understanding, so I don't get all bent out of shape and wish for them to be different than they are. Whatever it may be... tally ho, boys, you're awesome.


cheris said...

But I want those things for me too! And my daughter!

Kami said...

Good comment, Cheris. I've been thinking about that all weekend. I'm new to the girl-rearing field, but you're right, I would want most of those things for my girl and for myself, too. They're just great things, in general. I think where it rings some bells for me is the, "to know what the rules are". My boys have pushed me so much out of my comfort zone... they're so different than me... ideally we would all just be hanging out and having fun and my love and nurturement and good intentions would help everyone feel safe and it would make everyone be really chill and relaxed. I have had to be pushed to be ultra clear about where the boundaries are... and I probably will have to do this with my girl, too. Her list might be a little different or it might be just the same. (and if she turns out to just want to hang out, talk about her feelings and work on art projects, then I'll be pretty psyched). Either way it would be a great list to keep tacked up on the bulletin board... esp. the 'important work'... that really rung a bell for me. I have to remember to put in the extra effort to engage them in the work that is meaningful, that keeps our household running, or that makes the world a better place... not just 'run off and play until you're older) though play's important too....