It’s easy to group all kids together into one general mass of noisy, snotty, rambunctious youngsters. We lose sight of the fact that boys and girls are fundamentally different. If you’ve had the experience of raising both, you know the nature vs nurture debate isn’t a debate at all. Boys are naturally different in a handful of interesting ways.
I have seven boys and four girls to compare them with. They’re each unique, of course. Some are the athletic type, some the artistic sort, and others I haven’t quite figured out yet.
I realize not all boys are alike, and generalization are just that; they’re generally, but not always, the case. Still, when I sit and watch them interact with each other, some very interesting things become obvious.
Boys Thrive in the Wild
There was I time I was fascinated with zoos, specifically how they structured the animal enclosures. They spend a lot of time crafting the exhibits, not just to look pretty, but to keep the animals from going insane. It turns out apes, for example, will quickly get bored with their concrete home and slip into a deep depression. It’s quite sad. It also turns out boys aren’t a whole lot different.
Take a boy and put him in an artificial enclosure (ie, classroom, apartment, doctor’s office, etc.) for an extended period of time and he’ll go nuts. Boys need a sense of freedom. They’re adventurous and want to explore, discover, and conquer. Open them up to new things to feed that need and you just may prevent a lot of frustration in that boy.
Boys Are Loud
If you live next to a landing strip often trafficked by 747s, then you are almost prepared for the noise levels boys produce. I kid you not, I have offered guests earplugs at times to help them get accustomed to the sounds.
Boys are just plain loud. Of course we keep the noise levels down as much as possible, but they get excited easily, and as the excitement goes up, so does the hearing damage they cause. The thing to remember is there is a difference between general noise and happy noise. I’ve caught myself many times about to tell them to quite down, only to realize they’re laughing hysterically with each other. I don’t want to take that from them. I don’t want to be the one to crush that. It’s really a great sound to hear, and before I know it my house won’t be filled with it anymore. So I try to get my fill now while I still can.
Boys Are Active
Everyone knows boys are active. Until you’ve lived with a few, you can’t really know just how active they are.
There is never a still moment. They literally don’t pause until they’ve fallen over from exhaustion. They wake up ready to go outside and climb trees, climb the table, climb each other, whatever.
It’s really not hard to help them find an outlet for their energy. Just don’t get in their way and their energy finds it’s own outlet. All. Day. Long.
Boys Are Destructive
I knew as a kid I enjoyed breaking things, and I was pretty sure most other boys followed suit. I didn’t realize to what degree this is true until I not only had seven sons of my own, but I began to accumulate tools.
I have never seen such destruction come in such a short period of time as when I’ve let those younglings loose with a few instruments of destruction.
It must be hard-wired into a boy to break things. They love smashing, cutting, twisting, and generally mangling everything they can bend to their wills. The more I can give them to destroy, the happier (and more well-behaved, I might add) they become.
Many of us realize a person given to artistic expression needs an outlet for that, and we structure our time and whatnot to provide it. How often do we take into consideration a boy’s need to break stuff? He needs an outlet, too. An old tire and a mallet is a good place to start.
Boys Are Violent
… and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
Boys grow up dreaming of being the hero. They want to rescue people from burning buildings, defeat the bad guy, save the day, and prove their worth as a man. It’s one of those desires that resides in a boy’s heart, and he never really outgrows.
There is an aspect of danger and violence with being a hero. You can’t beat the bad guy unless you actually beat the bad guy. Someone’s getting hurt in that deal. It’s violent. And that’s a good thing.
Obviously, random violence is no good. Controlled, focused violence is admired and useful. Martial arts teaches controlled, focused violence. Police learn to use controlled, focused violence. And if a young man is with your daughter in a rough neighborhood, you sure hope he knows a thing or two about controlled, focused violence for her protection.