Boys struggling to find their self-worth …
Given the current deep community outpourings of concern for the senseless violence present on Australian streets at night, the disturbing numbers of little boys being suspended and expelled from our schools, and the decreasing numbers of young men attending and graduating university, something is going wrong in the world of our boys.
I lay blame on society, which seems to have stolen boyhood in the name of a sanitised, politically correct, gender neutral, bland childhood.
One of the world’s leading writers on boys and men, Michael Gurian, believes the invisible drive at the biological core of manhood is the pursuit to prove self-worth. No one can give a man his self-worth – he has to give this to himself. The guidance of good men, of course, helps.
To find this place, however, boys and men seek external ways to demonstrate potency, victory and independence – and this is what helps shape their search for meaning and purpose in life from a very early age. It is the warrior unfolding from within. There have been several shifts in society that have undermined our children and particularly impacted on our boy warriors.
In days gone by, boys had the freedom to roam unsupervised on adventures that allowed them to be massively engaged in pursuits that helped them to learn and grow using life’s greatest teacher – experience.
Our modern-day phobia that our world is unsafe, especially for our boys, is creating an environment where they are finding it ever more difficult to find that place of self-worth through external moments of potency and success. We now run the risk of creating a generation of frustrated and angry young men.