In the thoughtful and provocative The Wonder of Boys: What Parents, Mentors, and Educators Can Do to Shape Boys into Exceptional Men
, therapist and educator Michael Gurian takes a close look at modern boyhood. Gurian asserts that the biological and neurological differences between boys and girls need to be accounted for and nourished in order to raise healthy, happy boys. In discussing boy culture--and the roles of competition, aggression, and physical risk taking--the author concludes, "It's not boy culture that's inherently flawed; it's the way we manage it." If the natural, testosterone-based impulses of boys are squelched or ignored, Gurian posits, such biological truths may find their way to the surface in other, more negative behaviors. He suggests that boys do best when they are part of a "tribe," three families that include: a birth or adoptive family; an extended family of friends, teachers, peers, and mentors; and the "family" of outside culture, media, religious institutions, and community figures. The Wonder of Boys
offers advice on how to understand and build strong father/son and mother/son relationships, stresses the importance of healthy discipline, and suggests methods of teaching boys about sex, relationships, and spirituality. Parents and teachers of boys will find this book to be an insightful read. --Ericka Lutz
From Publishers Weekly
Yes, boys and girls are different, says Washington state family therapist Gurian (Mothers, Sons and Lovers), urging that society learn how to deal creatively with gender-specific needs. In considering the cultural effects of heightened gender consciousness, Gurian warns of the dangers of "enmeshing male development with a female culture in transition." Outlining biological differences, he explains that boys are "hard-wired" to possess certain traits. Because of male brain chemistry and the hormone testosterone, boys are apt, for example, to relish risk-taking and to be physically aggressive and competitive (violence, he claims is not hard-wired, but learned through culture). What Gurian adds to this generally recognized background material is a persuasive summons to society, specifically parents, educators and communities, to unite to channel these traits in positive directions. Sports, for instance, allow competition but also teach responsibility. Work, nature study, music and spiritual pursuits are other positive channels. Gurian, who has also lived in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, suggests that we in the U.S. have grown away from beneficial rites of passage?and toward "isolated, tremulous, family systems." In this shift, he contends, boys have been abandoned, and he urges that society reclaim responsibility for the moral and spiritual upbringing of young males, with guidance offered by elder mentors and support coming from extended family or community. Writing in a calm, compassionate voice, Gurian delivers a compelling call to action. 50,000 first printing; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.