The Purpose of Boys: Helping Our Sons Find Meaning, Significance, and Direction in Their Lives
April 2009, Jossey-Bass
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THE PURPOSE OF BOYS: Helping Our Sons Find Meaning, Significance, and Direction In Their Lives
WHAT IS HAPPENING TO AMERICA’S BOYS?
Bestselling Author And Gender Expert Michael Gurian Explains How Parents, Schools, And Communities Can Help Boys Lead Purposeful Lives
Bestselling author Michael Gurian has spent more than two decades advocating for boys, examining and explaining how they learn and develop differently from girls and how parents and teachers can help them succeed. In THE PURPOSE OF BOYS, the final installment of his groundbreaking boys trilogy, Gurian explains that there has been a significant shift in the development of male purpose in America – boys no longer understand what their social roles should be, and communities, families, and schools don’t understand how to give them the direction they need.
“As an advocate for boys,” he explains, “I see a world in which boys are asking us every day, and mainly through their actions, ‘What is the purpose of boys?’, and for the most part, our culture is answering, ‘We don’t know.’ This is not an ideal situation, neither for male development nor human development. THE PURPOSE OF BOYS is about finding a better answer to that question.”
THE PURPOSE OF BOYS discusses the numerous causes for the collapse of male purpose development in America. In the past, young men learned strategies for success through the efforts of their parents, grandparents, faith communities, and role development within their culture. According to Michael Gurian, all of these formerly positive influences are breaking down, and a perfect storm is brewing in the culture of boyhood: males don’t know what their social roles should be, families are deteriorating around them, and communities and schools don’t understand boys’ natural needs.
Gurian attempts to remedy this breakdown in THE PURPOSE OF BOYS by giving parents a clear map for guiding their sons through childhood and young adulthood, tackling such issues as the roles of status, respect, and social rejection in adolescent male development; the importance of teaching boys about sexuality in a way that is values-oriented and purposeful; the unique struggles that boys from different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds face; the dangers of overexposure to electronic media for all boys; and the critical function of education in a boy’s life, including suggestions for matching a school’s teaching style to the male brain. Gurian also provides a detailed rite of passage program for early to mid-adolescent boys, which can be used by families and communities to guide boys through the confusing transition from boyhood to manhood.
Based on the latest scientific research regarding how boys develop neurologically, THE PURPOSE OF BOYS offers an understanding of what is happening inside a boy’s brain as he grows up, from birth through early adulthood. For each stage of development, Gurian shares anecdotes and solutions from parents, successful childrearing techniques from other cultures, and proven strategies for guiding boys on their personal paths toward building purposeful lives. He includes information about the biological realities of male development, as well as questions to ask and levels of support to offer based on individual levels of maturity. Each chapter closes with suggested “Questions of Purpose” that parents can ask their sons to gain a better understanding of their natural talents, strengths, weaknesses, fears, and goals so that they are better equipped to guide them on their journeys.
In this final book of his revolutionary program for molding happy and successful boys, Michael Gurian identifies the causes and dangers of the loss of purpose in American boyhood. He offers clear, practical solutions for building motivation, character, and personal responsibility, providing parents, teachers, and communities with an in-depth tool kit for shaping the men of the future. Every parent of sons and teacher of boys should read THE PURPOSE OF BOYS.