As we head into 2019, let’s consider both definitions of the word. Let’s make some firm decisions to improve our relationships with our boys. Let’s take steps to address and solve the contentious matters facing us. And let’s work together to create a climate that encourages and supports boys and their families and teachers.
Need some inspiration? Here are a few of Janet & Jen’s Resolutions for People Who Care About Boys:
1. Read a book about boys
Our recommendations include The Minds of Boys:Saving Our Sons From Falling Behind in School and Life, by Michael Gurian; Masterminds & Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World, by Rosalind Wiseman; and Boy Talk: How You Can Help Your Son Express His Emotions, by Mary Polce-Lynch.
2. Investigate your school’s discipline and recess policies.
Compared to girls, boys are far more likely to be disciplined, suspended and expelled. They’re also more likely to lose recess time (in many schools, keeping a child inside for recess is still an acceptable, oft-used disciplinary tactic). Unfortunately, harsh discipline and recess policies rarely lead boys to greater academic success and engagement. To the contrary: harsh discipline and lack of recess time is correlated with decreased engagement in school. If you have time, recess advocacy is a great way to help boys (and girls!).
3. Add activity
Most boys — most people! — would do better with more movement in their lives. So, think about how you can add activity to your family life.
4. Say ‘yes’ as often as possible
In our zeal to keep our boys safe, we often say no to activities that we consider “risky” or “stupid.” This year, stop and think; don’t let “no” be your reflexive answer. Whenever possible, say “yes” to your boys. You can mitigate risk without crushing your boys’ hopes, dreams and ambitions.
5. Focus on what’s right
In her book You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, Jen Sincero writes, “What you focus on, you create more of, and if you keep expecting people to annoy you, they will not let you down.” This year, make it a point to see, acknowledge and remember all of the things your boys are doing right — and all of the good you’re doing as well.
6. Share what you know about boys with other people.
The world is in the midst of a current and ongoing conversation about how to raise boys. Increasingly, we’re realizing that the way we treat our boys today influences the way they treat others when they become men. Collectively, there seems to be a strong desire to do better. As someone who cares about boys, you already know a lot about what boys think, feel and need. Share your knowledge with others, and discuss the things you’re learning with them. Together, we can build a better world for boys.
Links we mentioned (or should have) in Episode 142:
New Year’s Resolutions for People Who Care About Boys – BuildingBoys post
On Boys OPEN MIC — Your chance to ask us anything. Come to discuss your problems with other people who care about boys.
Why Boys NEED Recess and How to Become a Recess Advocate – class BuildingBoys post
Why January is the Perfect Time for a Mid-Year School Check-In – BuildingBoys post
Why You Need to Stop Focusing on Your Boys’ Bickering – BuildingBoys post inspired by the quote in resolution #5