|Reading this article at Persuasion today, reminds me to again consider the roots of the problem of aimless young men.
The feminization of the curricula in the US K-12 system discriminates against boys and is in no small part responsible for boys largely being uninterested in school and drifting into all sorts of dangerous pursuits. Ditto the fact that the teachers are mostly women. Even the reading requirements in school fail to identify an array of books that boys can get interested in to grow their literacy, interests, and thirst for knowledge that can all help them figure out who they are and who they want to be.
Most young people I know learned to hate reading when they were in school and let’s not forget that even many college graduates never read a book again, something referred to as aliteracy. Additionally, many youth sports have become pay-to-play in the US, so boys just get high, play video games, and watch porn. Frankly, at this point, I’d be for boy’s schools where they can get what they need. We shouldn’t have to go there, but we might need to.
Desk jobs are not what all boys want. Hands on jobs and hard work can be very mentally, physically, and financially rewarding for men. Pathways to get to those opportunities should be easy to navigate.
Also, I think not having a garage to work on projects is a disaster. Apartment living robs so many kids of project spaces including mechanical work and more that can be so formative in a man’s life. Idleness and the streets are no substitute. And with so many families with no men around at all, even when there is a garage, there’s likely no mentor to get the boys interested.
So-called “maker spaces” are not really accessible to youth for a variety of reasons including pay-to-play and liability. That’s sad, because lots of kids would practically live in them if they had access to 3D printers, CNCs, laser cutters and more.
In Seattle, there’s a non-profit organization called Coyote Central where my younger son attended several summer sessions decades ago. He learned to weld at one of them. It was formative. Imagine if places like Coyote Central were everywhere?
He also attended the YMCA’s Boys Outdoor Leadership Development summer program several times. Once he hiked from peak to peak in the Washington State Cascades for weeks with leaders who were on fire for that type of thing. That too was so formative.
For computer-oriented kids, software subscriptions are exorbitant as well, so access to things like Adobe Creative Suite are out of reach for many which is sad because so many kids would dig that – Photoshop, video editing, and more. Oh my.
I read about a program in Reykjavik, Iceland to reduce youth drug and alcohol use called Recreation Cards that gives kids vouchers so they can go get involved in sports, arts, and leisure activities – healthy pursuits that interest them. It’s successful. Hell, yes, we need that.
The crisis that is the failure of boys to launch is really just them sleeping in the bed we made for them when you think about it. Sometimes I wonder if the misguided concept of equity has led our society to treat boys like girls. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case.
I favor Education Savings Accounts so families can access the kind of education they want for their children instead of forcing them to attend the often gang-indoctrinating public school system otherwise known as the school to prison pipeline. Ugh.
With the vast amount of money being spent on public education, we could do so much better, but the tired factory education model is walled off and protected politically and it’s a real shame. It’s not a day too soon to break that wall down and modernize the delivery of education and recreation. Let’s hear it for the boys.