Phi Beta Cons

Boys Are Not Defective Girls

I applaud my local Evansville Courier and Press for running such a politically incorrect (i.e. accurate) article in its education section.

This article chronicles what Hillary Krantz, program manager at Youth Resources of Southwestern Indiana, learned at a recent educational conference:

He [Eric Rowels, president and CEO of Leading to Change] said, “We treat our young boys like defective girls.” After looking at my own list of misunderstandings, I could not agree more. I felt speechless upon hearing this because I admit to being guilty of it.

Boys are kinesthetic learners, and this is the way they refine their fine motor skills. Ironically, kinesthetic learning occurs through movement. Thus, touching things and wrestling does have purpose. Boys need the rough and tumble play and the physical activity for their brain development. They need space to learn and play, and the more space they have, the better.

They always must be on their guard and aware of their proximity to the exit for their protection. This also explains their desire to sit in the corner of the room; having the ability to see the room in its entirety guarantees no one can sneak up on them.

Video games are appealing because when they win, they win, but when they lose, the defeat is private. By playing video games, boys can avoid any public embarrassment if failure arises.

In my own journey to understanding boys, I have a long way to go before I will feel confident in my ability to work with young males in a setting that allows for their natural way of learning and development to take place.

Perhaps even more valuable, is the way Ms. Krantz ended the article: “Thank you, Eric Rowels, for this proverbial slap in the face; it is one that will not be ignored or forgotten.” 

In other words, “Thanks for undoing college for me and reminding me that there are real differences between men and women beyond genitalia.” Now, if only we can get this message to infiltrate college indoctrination orientation programs.

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