Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

No Running, No Jumping: The War Against Boys in Our Schools
WorthyNews ^ | 7/7-26-2000 | Charles W. Colson

Posted on 08/20/2003 8:02:38 PM PDT by GrandMoM

By Charles W. Colson

Commentary from BreakPoint

The Cleveland Avenue School in Atlanta has all the amenities you would expect a new school to have: computer equipment, an up-to-date library, and modern classrooms. It has everything except a playground.

No, it wasn't an oversight. It was designed that way, in order to make little boys behave more like little girls. And it's part of a trend.

In 1998, Atlanta eliminated recess in its elementary schools. Other cities, like Philadelphia, retained something called recess, but it bears little resemblance to the unstructured play time most of us enjoyed as kids.

Why? As Christina Hoff Sommers says in her new book, THE WAR AGAINST BOYS, educators today are intolerant of boys acting like boys -- moving, making noise, and engaging in raucous play. This intolerance goes beyond the need for order and discipline. The rule is "no running and no jumping," and boys who engage in normal active play are frequently punished or sent home.

When boys aren't being punished for being boys, they are being medicated to accomplish the same result. It is revealing that 95 percent of the kids on Ritalin today -- a drug used to treat hyperactivity -- are boys.

As Michael Gurian, the author of THE GOOD SON, puts it, "If Huck [Finn] and Tom [Sawyer] were in today's schools, they would be labeled ADD, having attention deficit disorder, and drugged."

Behind this campaign against what Sommers calls "youthful male exuberance" is, in her words, "misguided feminism." Many feminists insist that it is maleness itself -- defined by characteristics like aggressiveness, competitiveness, and assertiveness -- that causes violence.

This view has found its most receptive audience in education, which is dominated, to a greater extent than other professions, by women. The result is a commitment to what Dr. Sommers calls feminizing boys: monitoring and policing characteristically male behavior, and getting boys to participate in "characteristically feminine activities."

As a result, our sons think there's something wrong with being a boy. As Dan Kindlon, a child psychologist, puts it, our sons feel like a "thorn among roses" and a "frowned-upon presence" in our schools.

This war that's being waged on sons isn't only cruel; it's culturally disastrous. When Christians say that God made us male and female, it isn't only about sex. It's an acknowledgment that the attributes of both sexes were intended to complement each other, and achieve results that neither sex, acting on their own, could achieve.

While she isn't a Christian, Camille Paglia, a feminist author, understands this. She has written that masculinity is . . . the most creative cultural force in history." "Men," she adds, "created the world we live in and the luxuries we enjoy."

To be more precise, it is the masculine role as provider and protector, as restrained by clear standards of right and wrong, that has produced the civilization we know.

But our schools are failing our sons today by not encouraging them in this role.

We need to help our neighbors understand that a generation of boys who are taught that there's something intrinsically wrong with being male will not be able to act as the kind of responsible and creative force that Paglia describes. And our sons won't be the only ones paying the price.

If we really understand what's really at stake in society's "war against boys," we'd realize that a little "male exuberance" on the playground is a small price to pay.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; Philosophy; US: Georgia
KEYWORDS: aauw; atlanta; bookreview; boys; boysanddolls; charlescolson; childhood; christinahoffsommers; diversity; education; playbehavior; playground; savethemales; schools; waragainstboys
.....In the book" War Against Boys" the author tells the story of how it has become fashionable to attribute pathology to millions of healthy male children. It is a story of how we are turning against boys and forgetting a simple truth: that the energy, competitiveness, and corporal daring of normal, decent males is responsible for much of what is right in the world. No one denies that boys' agressive tendencies must be checked and channeled in constructive ways. Boys need discipline, respect, and moral guidance. Boys need love and tolerant understanding. They do not need to be pathologized!
1 posted on 08/20/2003 8:02:39 PM PDT by GrandMoM
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: GrandMoM
bflater
2 posted on 08/20/2003 8:09:51 PM PDT by m18436572 (bump for the sad truth)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GrandMoM
bflater
3 posted on 08/20/2003 8:09:52 PM PDT by m18436572
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: Uno Animo
Great idea, Uno--but what if you have to work for a living? You can't hold down a job and let the kids run around all day or sit in a daycare center, then come home to school them at night. Nor can you run a successful business all day if you're homeschooling at the same time, for both are full time jobs and have to be done mostly in the daytime. It's not an option for many of us who don't have another spouse to support us.
5 posted on 08/20/2003 8:18:24 PM PDT by Capriole (Foi vainquera)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: Capriole
Check into the local homeschooling network in your area. If you help support them in their goals, perhaps a loving, supportive parent will support you by teaching your child along with their own.

Another good way to offset the negative influences at school is to involve your child in some kind of group that encourages, teaches, and praises moral, healthy behavior. In many cities, you don't have to belong to a church/religious body to have your kids attend the youth group or go to Sunday school.

It's a tremendously difficult to be a good parent and the primary provider. I will continue keep you, and other hardworking parents (single or not), in my prayers.

7 posted on 08/20/2003 8:57:55 PM PDT by TheWriterInTexas (Under Seige - MWCF)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: GrandMoM
bump
8 posted on 08/20/2003 8:59:38 PM PDT by F-117A
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: EdReform
)))))))PING(((((((((

....What's your take on this???

9 posted on 08/20/2003 9:00:17 PM PDT by GrandMoM ("What is impossible with men is possible with GOD -Luke 18:27)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TheWriterInTexas
What great ideas, THANK YOU!!!!!!!
10 posted on 08/20/2003 9:02:00 PM PDT by GrandMoM ("What is impossible with men is possible with GOD -Luke 18:27)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: GrandMoM
Dang! No more kick and dodge ball?

I guess their hearts are warm and gay these days!

11 posted on 08/20/2003 9:04:47 PM PDT by rockfish59
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Uno Animo
What about taking the indoctrinater’s out of the schools? Were paying for them.

The weighty truth about public education

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/966873/posts

12 posted on 08/20/2003 9:18:46 PM PDT by quietolong
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: GrandMoM
A friend and I were just talking about this last night. I'd never let either of my sons be doped up as a condition for attending school.
13 posted on 08/20/2003 9:21:13 PM PDT by GATOR NAVY (20 years in the Navy; never drunk on duty - never sober on liberty)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Uno Animo
Why don't we have more conservatives in our public schools?

Because the pay sucks ?

14 posted on 08/20/2003 9:25:23 PM PDT by Centurion2000 (We are crushing our enemies, seeing him driven before us and hearing the lamentations of the liberal)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: TheWriterInTexas
Screwtape explains why:

http://adamsweb.mysitespace.com/screwtape4.htm

15 posted on 08/20/2003 9:26:56 PM PDT by Keyes2000mt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: GrandMoM
Start a boys only private school or send them to a military acacdemy.
16 posted on 08/20/2003 9:31:40 PM PDT by jimkress (Go away Pat Go away!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rockfish59
Dang! No more kick and dodge ball?

RECESS the one time during the school day when boys can legitimately engage in rowdy play--is now under siege and may soon be a thing of the past. In 1998, Atlanta eliminated recess in all its elementary schools. I Philadelphia, school officials have replaced traditional recess with "socialized recesses" in which the children are assigned structured activities and carefully monitored.

17 posted on 08/20/2003 9:32:27 PM PDT by GrandMoM ("What is impossible with men is possible with GOD -Luke 18:27)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Uno Animo
What I'm trying to say here is that conservatives must think and act as a family if 'we' and our country's culture and values is to survive and not be transformed from an extention of European/Christian values and culture to one being reclaimed by the Third World unassimilable immigrants.

I'd just like to stick up for the Third Worlders for a moment. Whatever else you might say about them, they generally have beliefs right in line with the "European/Christian values" which once prevailed. The Latin Americans believe in strong families and are usually quite religious. The Asians believe in building a better life for their children, and instilling their children with a strong respect for study and hard work. Modern Christianity, for that matter, is seeing its strongest growth in sub-Saharan African.

I kind of prefer the Third World immigrants to the postmodern post-Christians we're already stuck with (and who comprise the majority in Europe). They may have a lot to learn about our cultural practices, but you're not going to see them insisting that Gaia the Wiccan Earth Goddess and her sacrament of recycling be taught in school.

18 posted on 08/20/2003 9:39:09 PM PDT by SedVictaCatoni (At least illegal Mexican immigrants go to church.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: GrandMoM
Thanks, GrandMom.

My husband and I are old-fashioned, strict Roman Catholic. At present, our church has a school attached, but the waiting list is so long and the classes are so small, the possiblity of our children being placed is slim.

Since the Southern Baptists in our area are most closely aligned with our moral beliefs (overlooking litergical and some doctrinal differences, the Southern Baptists hold a similarly strong line on morality), we are sending our children to a Baptist Pre-School and will probably start them in a Baptist Sunday School program. I already spoke to the Pastor; he is more than willing to have our children attend Sunday School there, even though my husband and I are of a different denomination.

The program is wonderful, very Christ centered, and has built upon what I have been teaching my children at home. They are still babies (2 and 3), but they have fabulous manners, are well behaved, and love learning. There is plenty of rough and tumble play time, too, particularly in our house.

My girlfriend very much wants to home school and has investigated the network here in our area. Since I went to school to teach, I am highly confident I could aid her in this venture.

Should my children encounter difficulty with the local public school, I will teach them at home. After having tutored several kids on the block and having witnessed the errors and omissions in assignments given to them, I am confident I am equally, if not better qualified to instruct them - and I will do so, without hesitation.

19 posted on 08/20/2003 9:40:17 PM PDT by TheWriterInTexas (Under Seige - MWCF)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: GrandMoM
>>>> assigned structured activities and carefully monitored <<<


Gee were have I heard that before??

Recess is considered one of the most important activities in school.

20 posted on 08/20/2003 9:40:19 PM PDT by quietolong
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Centurion2000
Bingo!

That's why I didn't teach. Went all the way to my senior year, got high praise from others for my classroom management skills and perception, my "student-teacher" instructors thought I was a natural.

Then I realized I would need a second job just to eat in most parts of the country.

Sorry, couldn't do it. My day started at 7:30 a.m. and usually didn't end till 8:00 p.m., after grading 150 papers, writing tests, lesson plans, etc.

Did I love it? Heck, yes, I loved it. Would I have burned out after a few years. Probably.

Did I make more money moving into another field. Goodness, yes, gobs of it.

21 posted on 08/20/2003 9:46:00 PM PDT by TheWriterInTexas (Under Seige - MWCF)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: quietolong
....in the Book "The War Against Boys" the author notes-Recess is also a time of sex segregation. But little boys playing kick ball together in the school yard are not only having a great deal of fun, they are forging friendships and bonding with other males in ways that are critical to their healthy development.
22 posted on 08/20/2003 9:50:23 PM PDT by GrandMoM ("What is impossible with men is possible with GOD -Luke 18:27)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: TheWriterInTexas
Did I love it? Heck, yes, I loved it.....what a shame our schools lost someone like you. I suspect many others avoid teaching for the same reason.
23 posted on 08/20/2003 10:05:46 PM PDT by GrandMoM ("What is impossible with men is possible with GOD -Luke 18:27)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: GrandMoM
'Wussification 101'

When I was in school the kids would all move way back when it was my turn to kick the ball!
I loved that and also loved to kick!

Wasn't as good as Ray Guy of the Raiders though! =^)

24 posted on 08/20/2003 10:10:01 PM PDT by rockfish59
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: GrandMoM
If you want to understand the war on masculine behavior, it is pretty simple. Feminists believed that men had it easy so they insisted that men treat them like men. Men did, and they didn't like it. It wasn't easy, could be quite nasty, and they often couldn't compete by male standards. So feminists changed their tune. Since they couldn't compete with men being treated like men, there must be something wrong with men, so they set out to change male behavior into something that they can compete with.
25 posted on 08/20/2003 10:48:21 PM PDT by Question_Assumptions
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GrandMoM
I Philadelphia, school officials have replaced traditional recess with "socialized recesses" in which the children are assigned structured activities and carefully monitored.

Are you serious?? .. Why can't these adults just let kids be kids ..

26 posted on 08/20/2003 10:54:50 PM PDT by Mo1 (I still hate Liberal Democrats)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Mo1
Why can't these adults just let kids be kids ......The preface of the book "The War Against Boys" by Christina Hoff Sommer begins

It's a bad time to be a boy in America. As the new millennium begins, the triumphant victory of our women's soccer team has come to symbolize the spirit of American girls. The defining event for boys is the shooting at Columbine High.

"The carnage committed by two boys in Littleton,Colorado."declares the Congressional Quarterly Researcher," has forced the nation to reexamine the nature of boyhood in America."

William Pollack, director of the Center for Men at McLean Hospital and author of the best-selling Real Boys; Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood, tells audiences around the country, "The boys in Littleton are the tip of the ice-berg. And the iceberg is all boys!

27 posted on 08/20/2003 11:18:23 PM PDT by GrandMoM ("What is impossible with men is possible with GOD -Luke 18:27)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

Comment #28 Removed by Moderator

To: GrandMoM
Engineering a greater number of metrosexuals for the next generation...
29 posted on 08/20/2003 11:45:22 PM PDT by Fraulein (TCB)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Any parent that allows leftists to indoctrinate their children for any reason is at the minimum, guilty of that.

Have to do it?
No matter what the reasoning, the result is the same.
30 posted on 08/21/2003 12:21:57 AM PDT by At _War_With_Liberals
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: GrandMoM
A scant 20 years ago, I was a student at Douglas county high school, 20 miles west of Atlanta.

Especially during deer season, rifles were common in the back window racks of trucks parked in the student parking lot. We were allowed to carry pocket knives. We prayed before football games and said the pledge of alliegance. Fights between students were met with paddlings instead of police.

What a difference 20 years makes.

31 posted on 08/21/2003 6:08:17 AM PDT by Vigilantcitizen (Game on in ten seconds.....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: viligantcitizen
alliegance=allegiance
32 posted on 08/21/2003 6:08:58 AM PDT by Vigilantcitizen (Game on in ten seconds.....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: GATOR NAVY
I'd never let either of my sons be doped up as a condition for attending school.

Nor would I. And thankfully it's not an issue for us. But sadly, some school districts don't offer a choice and even question a parent's ability to care for their child if they refuse.

33 posted on 08/21/2003 7:52:32 AM PDT by fortunecookie (longtime lurker and new poster)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: jimkress
Start a boys only private school or send them to a military acacdemy.

A good idea if they can stay private or all boys. But in our area all-boys have become co-ed and some have been subverted by 'well-meaning' school boards under the guise of improving education or making sure they follow a state approved curriculum.

Homeschooling is a great alternative, for those who can.

34 posted on 08/21/2003 7:55:40 AM PDT by fortunecookie (longtime lurker and new poster)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Mo1
Are you serious?? .. Why can't these adults just let kids be kids ..

That's exactly what they don't want. Boys, masculinity in general, are bad, haven't you heard? They want to make sure the boys socialize properly (read - like girls).

35 posted on 08/21/2003 7:59:14 AM PDT by fortunecookie (longtime lurker and new poster)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: TheWriterInTexas
I sent my two sons (one year apart in age) to a Baptist school. They started in grades K and 1 respectively and attended for two years. We moved and it was no longer practical to send them there so we enrolled them in public school where they spent an entire school year going over things they had already learned at the Baptist school.
I suspect the experience would have been the same at almost any religious school and probably they get farther and farther ahead the longer they stay there.
I remember their disappointment to learn that they wouldn't have a Spanish class in their new school after having had two years of it at the Church school.
36 posted on 08/21/2003 8:00:08 AM PDT by Graybeard58 (Conscience is what hurts when everything else feels so good.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: GrandMoM
"The carnage committed by two boys in Littleton,Colorado."declares the Congressional Quarterly Researcher," has forced the nation to reexamine the nature of boyhood in America."

Wow, I mean, wow. I didn't read this - till now. Perhaps they have reversed that. Perhaps the behavior of the 2 boys is a result of years of ritalin and behavior forcibly altered.

37 posted on 08/21/2003 8:02:17 AM PDT by fortunecookie (longtime lurker and new poster)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: Fraulein
Engineering a greater number of metrosexuals for the next generation...

And proud of it.

38 posted on 08/21/2003 8:03:46 AM PDT by fortunecookie (longtime lurker and new poster)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: All
Time for Public School Free Zones.
39 posted on 08/21/2003 8:08:07 AM PDT by mpreston
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: fortunecookie
....the author continues:

In April 1999, the massacre a Columbine HS shocked an uncomprehending nation by its cold brutality. It was the seventh school shoting in less than two years. This time, more than ever, the public's need to make sense of such tragedies was palpable. How could this happen?

Asking "Why now?" and "Why here?" puts us onto the track of what is missing in the American way of socializing children that was present in the recent past. To find the answers, we need to attend to the views of the progressive-education theorists who adovocated abandoning the traditional mission of indoctrinating children in the "old morality." They succeeded in persuading the American educational establisment to adopt instead the romantic moral pedagogy of Rousseau.

Teachers and parents who embraced this view badly underestimated the potential barbarism of children who are not given a directive moral education. That the romantic approach to moral education is harmful is becoming increasingly obvious to the public, but it will take some time for the educational establishment to change. One week after the Colorado shootings, Secretary of Education Richard Riley talked to a group of students at a high school in Annapolis, Maryland. After the secretary rounded up the usual causes and reasons for the atrocity, a student asked him about one he had mot mentioned: "Why haven't students been offered ethics classes?" Secretary Rily seemed taken aback by the question.

Had K-12 teachers in the Littleton schools seen it as their routine duty to civilize the students in their care, they would never have overlooked the bizarre, antisocial behavior of Klebold and Harris. When the boys appeared in school with T-shirts with the words "Serial Killer" emblazoned on them, their teachers would have sent them home. Nor would the boys have been allowed to wear swastikas or produce grotesquely violent videos. By tolerating these modes of "self-expression" the adults at the High School implicitly sent the message to the students that there's not much wrong with the serial or mass murder of innocent people.

40 posted on 08/21/2003 9:03:45 AM PDT by GrandMoM ("What is impossible with men is possible with GOD -Luke 18:27)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: GrandMoM
Nor would the boys have been allowed to wear swastikas or produce grotesquely violent videos. By tolerating these modes of "self-expression"

And, no doubt, praised for their creativity.

Thanks for posting the rest of the article.

Ethics class? I wonder if ethics class shouldn't be preceded by ethics taught at home. It's my understanding that in another such shooting, the boy (was it the one in Seattle area?) was left alone for hours on end with his computer and video equipment. He was called creative and left to do as he pleased so as not to stifle his creativity. Since when is any discipline translated as stifling creativity? But the article hits the nail on the head:

. To find the answers, we need to attend to the views of the progressive-education theorists who adovocated abandoning the traditional mission of indoctrinating children in the "old morality." They succeeded in persuading the American educational establisment to adopt instead the romantic moral pedagogy of Rousseau.

It seems to be on/off. Either no supervision or molding the next metrosexual generation of males.

Isn't indoctrination children in the old morality just a twisted way of saying teaching right from wrong? I love when they call the old method 'indoctrination', but their method, which is more intense indoctrination, is merely the 'correct' way and not indoctrination at all.

41 posted on 08/21/2003 9:29:47 AM PDT by fortunecookie (longtime lurker and new poster)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: Graybeard58
Greetings, Graybeard58!

I attended Catholic high school myself; very advanced curriculum, long days, lots of electives. Heck, I even skipped lunch twice a week to attend an elective art class!

Spent one year of business school and two years of college never cracking a book. I didn't need to. I had learned it already in high school.

Great school, great teachers, great principal. I'm a fan of religious education, despite all the pathetic movies Hollywood puts out bashing it. Made all the difference for me!

42 posted on 08/21/2003 9:00:00 PM PDT by TheWriterInTexas (Under Seige - MWCF)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: GrandMoM; scripter
"What's your take on this???"

Belated bump! Thanks for posting this.

I agree, it IS a war on boys. Kids (both boys and girls) NEED recess. They need time for free play, not all this constant structured activity.

A little structured activity in physical education class is ok. Unfortunately, even physical education has been phased out in many schools over the years. Or sissified.

When I was in elementary school, we had two recess periods per day on a huge, well equipped playground. We also had a very large sand lot for playing football, baseball, kickball, etc. Boys could be boys back then!

43 posted on 08/22/2003 7:06:37 AM PDT by EdReform (Support Free Republic - Become a Monthly Donor)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: EdReform
Thanks for the imput!
44 posted on 08/22/2003 10:29:16 AM PDT by GrandMoM ("What is impossible with men is possible with GOD -Luke 18:27)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: TheWriterInTexas
I'm a fan of religious education....so am I, that's where my grandson will go if I have anything to say about it.
45 posted on 08/22/2003 11:00:31 AM PDT by GrandMoM ("What is impossible with men is possible with GOD -Luke 18:27)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson