Skip to comments.Myth of Boyhood
Posted on 06/27/2007 3:01:46 PM PDT by fgoodwin
Picture a world where your father walks with you down a starlit road, pausing to point out Orion. He recites Robert Frost, knows how a battery worksand all the rules about girls. "The Dangerous Book for Boys," by brothers Conn and Hal Iggulden, is peaking on Amazon's best-seller list (No. 5 last week) by recalling just that world. The compendium of trivia, history and advice is geared toward preteen boys, but it's found a surprising audience in men in their 30s and 40s, too. The book's marbled endpapers, archival illustrations and dry, humorous tone ("excitable bouts of windbreaking will not endear you to a girl") offers a portal back to a time of "Sunday afternoons and long summer days."
The anxiety might also be for our children. Robert Baden Powell, father of the Boy Scout movement, wrote "Scouting for Boys" in 1908, out of concern that the young soldiers he had fought with in the Boer War were physically and morally unfit. "At the height of the British Empire, the older generation worried about boys' becoming pasty and soft and useless," says Conn Iggulden. "I see similar concerns today."
But the Boy Scouts of America, with its exclusionary policies toward gays and atheists, and emphasis on safety over fun, may feel old-fashioned in a bad way: enrollment has declined steadily for a decade. "The Dangerous Book for Boys," on the other hand, suggests activities with a whiff of rebelliousness without advocating anything truly unsafe. It also gives parents a product, in today's commercial age, refreshingly free of brands or logos. Of course, they're still falling for one of the most enduring brands of all: nostalgia.
(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...
And yet the author dares not ask if the boys of today will in the future look back with nostalgia at the wonderful, formative lessons gleaned from freak dancing, gangsta rap, and Nintendo Wii.
We waded through drainage ditches to catch box turtles. We jammed the muzzles of our air rifles into the ground and then fired the dirt clods at each other. We took turns hurling the “Unspunetz Stone” as high in the air as we could. We played with sheep and got ticks the size of quarters in our hair that our mothers burned out with their cigarettes. We smoked “cigars” that were actually dead, rolled-up rhododenron leaves. We built mud forts from which we waged mudball fights with each other. We jumped off a small cliff into the dead leaves that piled up below. We ate tunafish sandwiches for lunch that had been sitting in a brown paper sack in the sun all morning. We didn’t know any better.
The real problem here is the widespread fiction within the educational establishment (and elsewhere) that "gender roles" are some sort of inescapable trap to be avoided at all cost, and that those roles are always unrestrained violence for boys and mouselike docility for girls. Free men and women are living proof of the falsehood of the notion. Children who are never allowed to be free find it difficult to become free men and women. That, sadly and shockingly, seems to be by design.
Ahhh, great memories. What’s an Unspunetz Stone?
I have no idea if that’s how it was spelled. It was an old commercial for Ovaltine in which beefy Norwegians or Swedes were depicted in what the commercial called their “national sport”, tossing this big boulder. Whoever tossed it the farthest was the winner. The implication was that drinking Ovaltine made them strong. The commercial was on all the time and my 10-year-old friends and I decided to give boulder-tossing a try. I ended up with a goose egg on my forehead that stuck out half a foot after one of the flying rocks hit me in the head.
I never was a boy but I did most of those things too. I think I had an idyllic childhood. I raised my boys the same way. I remember some of my friends freaking out because I let them start fires but I had already taught them about safety. My husband taught them many more things than I ever imagined, I really don’t know how he made it out of childhood alive.
“...[Scouting] may feel old-fashioned in a bad way: enrollment has declined steadily for a decade.”
Well, when your “Daddy” is a Turkey Baster, One Night Stand,
Petri Dish, or Third Worlder on the other side of the globe and you’re being raised by Two Mommies, it’s a little hard to get him to take you to the meetings and the camp outs!
Thanks once AGAIN, NOW Hags for making Fathers obsolete in our society, you bitter old lesbian crones. Your handiwork has had far-reaching, disastrous consequences for Society as a whole, Beotches.
I love my Dad. I’m going to go call him and remind him just how IMPORTANT he is to me. :)
Heck, JohnnyO and me once had a "full-on" firefight with bottle rockets, firecracker, and M-80's down in Ensenada, Mexico.
We built underground forts...with trap doors.
We rode our bikes off the roof of my garage. We jumped off the fences and the top of the slide...into our pool.
We walked the whole perimeter of our lot's on top of the cinder block fences.
We climbed to the very tip-top of trees.
We were at home on the roofs of our homes.
We threw firecrackers and hotdog pieces up in the air to flying bats....
We had jousting matches on our stingray bikes...with long poles. We got beat to heck and back...and loved every minute of it.
We played baseball until late,late in the street...under the street lights.
We played hide-in-seek...at night until our parents called us home.
I noodled catfish with my grandpa, sticking my hand into crazy places!!
I stayed 3 nights out on the sand bars of the Arkansas River...with three other kids. Grandpa came and got us later....I was maybe 9. We fished, explored, ran, slept, fought, jerked around, had burping and farting contests....ate all the stuff we brought..and then what we caught.
Caught frogs, snakes, turtles, lightening bugs, praying mantis's...butterflys you name it.
It's no myth
When did this rule get made?
The modern world sucks.
I hear they also exclude girls...maybe you should file a class-action against the BSA.
Yeah, I had one of those LOL. It was the same era. What I like to think of as The Golden Age.
I’m afraid my wife can vouch for that one!