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The Purpose of Boys: Helping Our Sons Find Meaning, Significance, and Direction in Their Lives

The Purpose of Boys: Helping Our Sons Find Meaning, Significance, and Direction in Their Lives

Michael Gurian

ISBN: 978-0-470-46070-2

Mar 2009, Jossey-Bass

272 pages

$11.99

Description

The final and conclusive book in the groundbreaking series on boys and their development

In this climax to his series of landmark books about boys, Michael Gurian offers a powerful new program to help us give our sons a core purpose–a program based on building morality, character, career goals, the ability to form intimate relationships, selflessness, personal and community responsibility, and an accelerated process of developmental maturity. Gurian reveals how important purpose is for the success and happiness of boys and explains how a boy's core personality, nature, and genetic predisposition functions to create both strengths and weaknesses in their journey towards maturity.

  • Includes an innovative program for support and interventions according to the unique needs, weaknesses, and strengths of each individual young man.
  • This book is the follow-up to Gurian's bestselling The Minds of Boys
  • Draws on the latest science and field research on how boys develop neurologically
  • Gurian explores the unique issues boys must confront, and shows how their strategy for moral development and success in life is predicated on their nature and genetic predispositions.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS IX

INTRODUCTION: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE, SON? 1

Competing Purposes 3

What Is the Purpose of Boys? 4

We Who Care for Boys and Men 9

PART ONE UNDERSTANDING THE PURPOSE OF BOYS 11

1 THE LOSS OF PURPOSE IN AMERICAN BOYHOOD 13

Why Parents Want to Provide Purpose for Boys 15

Moving Forward with New Vision 22

2 HOW LITTLE BOYS DEVELOP THEIR SENSE OF PURPOSE 25

The Empathy of Boys 26

Brain Differences Between Boys and Girls 30

How Boys and Girls Need Purpose Differently 33

Your Little Boy’s Need to Save the World 36

Asking the Deep Questions of Boys 42

3 HOW ADOLESCENT BOYS SEEK THEIR PURPOSE IN LIFE 43

The Young Seeker Among the Primitive and the Civilized 45

How Adolescent Boys and Girls Seek and Develop Purpose Differently 48

What Motivates Different Boys 57

Helping Our Sons Seek Respect in Adolescence 59

Moving Forward with a Map in Hand 62

4.SON, YOU ARE MY HERO 63

The Heroic Son 64

The Story of Joseph 66

The Story Ends, for Now 86

PART TWO HELPING OUR SONS FIND THEIR PURPOSE IN LIFE 89

5 CREATING FAMILIES OF PURPOSE FOR BOYS 91

Creating a Three-Family System: The Parent-Led Team 92

The Development of a Boy’s Sense of Destiny in the Family System 96

The Ten Values Tool 97

The Value of Teaching Sexual Purpose 109 

Helping Our Sons Find Purposeful Work 115 

Helping Boys Find Purpose in Their Media Use 121

A Boy’s Search for Freedom 128

6 CREATING COMMUNITIES OF PURPOSE FOR BOYS 130

The Loss of Communities of Purpose for Boys 131

What the Community Can Do for Our Sons 134

Forming Purposeful Communities for African American Boys 141

Changing Helping Professions to Focus on Boys’ Needs 151

Enjoying Communities of Purpose with Boys 153

7 CHANGING SCHOOLS TOWARD RELEVANCE AND PURPOSE FOR BOYS 155

How Boys Are Struggling for Purpose in School 156

Fixing the Mismatch Between Schools and the Purpose of Boys 158

Investing in Schools of Purpose 178

8 CREATING AND PROVIDING RITES OF PASSAGE FOR YOUR SON 179

Guiding a Son Through Male Adolescence 180

Developing Your Own Rite-of-Passage Programs 184

The “Here I Am” Rite-of-Passage Program 189

The Power of Purposeful Men 205

EPILOGUE: COMING TOGETHER TO ADVOCATE FOR BOYS 207

NOTES AND RESOURCES 211

BIBLIOGRAPHY 225

APPENDIX: RITE-OF-PASSAGE PROGRAMS 229

THE GURIAN INSTITUTE 235

THE AUTHOR 237

INDEX 239