Volume 13, Issue 5: Flotsam
Nathan D. Wilson
Boys these days are up against it thick. Everything in our culture seems to be at war with them. Perhaps war is too kind a term. Our culture infects masculinity, especially as it manifests itself in the young male, with a rot that penetrates to the bones.
This is true in both the Christian and secular worlds, but is far more depressing in the Christian world, and even more so as it manifests itself in the homeschooling movement and Christian schools around the country. Boys are out, poofters are in.
In schools without discipline (the government schools and some evangelical), when boys manifest their budding masculinity it cannot be handled. It is thus declared a syndrome and drugged. Passive balls of flesh then sit through their classes without raising their previous ruckus. Well-behaved men indeed.
There are numerous problems with the picture above. A.D.D. boysall of themare never taught self-control. They do not misbehave because they have been doped, but they never learn to hold the reins of their emotions and desires; they simply lack the energy.
There are two real dangers in educating boys. One is sending them to school. The other is not. When a boy is sent to a school he is being placed within an institution that demands conformity. When he stays home, those demands
disappear. The boy sent to school encounters teachers (primarily female) who are threatened by his built-in desire to lead and to follow no one who has not earned respect. They also face (in most cases) schools who view themselves as very large mother-units, designed to prevent injury, misbehavior, grass stains, and loud noises. Boys are given no outlet to fall down, run, wrestle, tackle, or in any way make tending them more difficult than it would be if they all just stood around. The school is their mother. You may not do anything for the invincible reason, "You might get hurt," or worse yet, "dirty."
Boys at school get mothered by an institution; boys at home don't need one, their mother is right there. The truth of the matter is this: Boys need to get hurt. They need to have bruises, cuts, scuffs, goose eggs, and grass stains. They need to get knocked down, for one reason and one reason only, so that they can have an opportunity to stand up. In schools, being knocked down is against the rules. At home, who will do the knocking?
There is a long tragic story about how masculinity came to be despised, but it need not be delved into here. It is enough that the Christian church is currently effeminate and is passing its effeminacy down to the third and
fourth generations. The Reformed world, which currently has a hand in much of the new educational pie that has been cooked up, is little better. The Reformed world is attempting to protect its children, and it's doing a lousy job. This is not to say that the children are not protected, for they are indeed. The heirs of Christendom are pale, pubescent, air-conditioned boys who don't know what to do when someone knocks them down. The heirs of the covenant, those boys in whom rest the hopes of so many fools, are puffy weaklings. They come in all different shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: they are weak.
Being pious, we only keep the weak ones. The hypocrisy of the schools lies in their Christianity. Everyone knows that good Christian boys respect and obey authority. So when authority commands the boys to behave like girls, only
two things can happen. In the first case, the strong masculine boys will always find themselves in trouble. They are unable to be girls. If taken outside and given a ball, they have an emotional need to fall down and to take others with them. That cannot be removed. It was placed there by God. Because of this they find themselves in constant conflict with the authorities, whom they come to despise, and in despising them, very easily come to despise Christianity. Is it any wonder? Those above them have declared any noncompliance as non-Christian behavior. The boys have simply come
to believe the lie. Thus, the world takes our strong ones. We give them rams, and we keep the wooly-baa-lambs.
But now for the poofters. This is the other response to an over-mothering institution: compliance. The boys are told not to touch each other, and so they learn not to. The boys are told not to go outside when it is chilly, and so they
don't. They are told not to challenge the teacher, and so they won't. They are told that they are good Christian boys for such behavior, and they learn to look down on the boys who are unable to compromise in this way. This, of course, is defensive because ultimately they recognize their own weakness. If the other boys point it out, they go home and tell their mothers.
But how does a school or parent deal with this? Quite simply. Let your sons get dirty, let them get knocked down in games where that is allowed. Don't ever let the boys break rules, but remove those rules that truly break the boys. They will thrive on this. They will grow in emotional strength and physical control. In most cases nothing more is necessary than a simple allowance of truly physical play. But, if you have already allowed your son to become pasty, more may be needed to kickstart any strengthening.
Make him play for pain. Put him in a sport where he will get banged up, especially if he doesn't bang up the opposition. Make him eat ants. Make him play outside in the rain. It won't take long before you'll have to hold him back
from the really foolish things that will pop into his freshly freed soul.