…boys, unless the government has anything to say about it. The post right below this one about Air Racing, which is about as a “boy-thing” as you can get (it’s fast, loud, competitive, and dangerous) got me to thinking about what exactly is happening to boys lately. Coupled with a post by the erudite Dr. Helen and the equally interesting Anarchangel, I started thinking about my boyhood, and how it would have been different if was a child today.
A brief background, I was homeschooled when I was younger. Contrary to popular belief, I did not grow up to be socially retarded or anything funky like that, I had plenty of interaction with other kids. I figure I was a pretty normal kid, I played outside, got into shoving matches with other boys, was competitive with my friends and brothers, the whole nine yards. Seems pretty much standard fare.
I hadn’t really thought about it until recently, but if was an 10 year old today, my teachers would have recommended that I be put on Ritalin so fast it’d make your head spin. I have all the (mostly bullshit) signs of ADHD – I am (and was) aggressive, have a short attention span, I’m loud and disruptive at times, overconfident, etc. There is not a doubt in my mind that some idiot teacher wouldn’t be able to “control” me, and would thusly recommend that I be placed on Ritalin or whatever.
The problem with that is that I’m not ADHD. I can concentrate just fine if I want to; but when I was a child my ability to focus my yet developing mind hadn’t completed yet. I learned to concentrate through reading exercises and discipline – not drugs.
Something else that has me thinking is how it’s not okay for boys to be, well, boys any longer. Dr. Helen’s post spotlights some issues quite well, and brings up an important point. Boys seek to challenge themselves and others a lot of the time; if the outlets such as playgrounds and recess where those behaviors can be observed safely are removed, we’ll end up with kids playing chicken on the train tracks. I’m saying this to be silly, but rather I’m drawing on my own personal experience. Growing up I did some rather foolish things in the name of thrill seeking or challenging myself.
I’m aware that I’m somewhat rambling today; but there is a point behind all of this. If you are a parent of boys, let them be boys. They want to ride bikes fast and swing from high monkey bars, and generally sometimes act dangerously. There isn’t anything inherently harmful in these actions. Boys will be boys, you only have to let them.