Boys and men

There was a good interview on Zenit yesterday with Meg Meeker, the author of "Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know." and "Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons." (Cf. Helping boys become men)

Meeker points out something with which many parish priests will be familiar:
We have too long championed girls' successes in academics and athletics and boys have been neglected. In fact, they have become casualties of the war, if you will, to further the cause of girls and women and have been losing out for a good 20 years now.
In parish life, this is reflected in the fact that from "children's liturgy" upwards, girls predominate as active participants in parish activities. I am personally very much in favour of arranging at least some single-sex activities in order to create space for boys to be boys and girls to be girls.

The shrill cry of "stereotyping" utterly misses the point. The "stereotypes" of the secular world are most strongly present when boys and girls feel the need to impress one another. Freed from this constraint, boys and girls are free to be themselves more naturally without having to fit the stereotype given them by the television. If there are good men and women as role models of faith and life, this will help to reinforce the values that their families naturally want to encourage.

Meeker is quite right that boys have been left out. This is not only a disadvantage for them but also for the girls. It is to nobody's benefit if boys are left without any model or guidance in what it is to be a "real (Christian) man".

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