My heart goes out to teenage boys, their parents and communities. If it’s The End of Men, what are the boys supposed to become? If women are The Richer Sex now, what does that mean for the sons? If the boys are not Manning Up and are remaining in Guyland into their 30’s, what are we really expecting of them?
For lots of reasons, it’s a whole new ball game engaging teenage boys in becoming young men. Parents are at a loss with what to do with their teenage sons. They find themselves constantly trying to get them to change. The result is incessant arguing, fighting, opposition, anguish, misery, withdrawal and frustration. This produces zero maturation. In fact, both “trying to get them to change”and “letting them do their own thing”enables boys’ lack of growth and development. Neither approach has the necessary ingredients they need to become young men.
It is equally frustrating for the boys who are ripe for an engagement and a context that enables them to mature. What they face instead is a perilous journey trying to develop a sense of masculinity and potency. Too many are faltering. It shows in a lack of ambition and motivation, afraid of risks and completing tasks, withdrawal into entertainment and fantasy, poor school performance, low confidence, little integrity, and substance abuse. Often the boys making it out of high school and through college finish feeling lost, with no direction or purpose and aching to join “the fight club” so he can feel strong and potent.
For a teenage boy, everything is about power! Specifically, the power to become his own man: to develop the capacities to make his own choices, to bring his intelligence, talent and skill to the world, and to serve the Highest good. In a nutshell, to fulfill his purpose and destiny becoming the man he was born to become.
The arenas for this development are the family, community and the Earth itself. More often than not, it is a war-torn battlefield covered with wounded combatants fighting for control. This is not the way. For teenage boys to develop as a passionate, productive, purposeful and potent young men absolutely requires a change in what they encounter with parents and other grown ups. A new understanding and experience of power, conflict and love are necessary for them to make it.
The programs at The BoysWork Project are dedicated to teaching, training and providing the contexts that boys need to mature into young men.