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Beyond the Icarus Factor: Releasing the Free Spirit of Boys Paperback – February 12, 2008
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"Beyond the Icarus Factor is a call to reconsider the place of boys in the family, schools, and community institutions that rob them of their inborn vitality and resourcefulness. . . . What happens to our boys when they're still boys is critical to our future. I hope you read this book." (Chiwah, The Light Connection, April 08)
"Hawley details the current state on the battlefield with numerous case histories and examples. He draws, too, from psychology, philosophy, poetry, and literature. He makes us feel the essence of puer-spirit as both a wonder and a tragedy. . . . I would recommend this book to those alarmed adults who suspect the problem of boys is one society created." (Bruce Bibee, Alaska Wellness, Vol. 13, No. 4, Jul/Aug 08)
From the Back Cover
PSYCHOLOGY / PARENTING
In Beyond the Icarus Factor, Richard Hawley sounds the clarion call to unleash, promote, and celebrate the dangerous pursuits that are an essential part of the creativity and daring nature of boys. Hawley’s many years as headmaster of a boys’ school have convinced him that boys have a unique, intrinsic, and inalienable free-spirit nature--a puer spirit--that embraces life as an adventure full of possibilities and joyous energy. Boys are innate questers and seekers, and unless they are frightened or forced to do otherwise, they will be inclined to attempt seemingly impossible feats--and achieve them--just as Icarus did when he flew to the sun.
Hawley sees deep flaws in the way we--as parents, educators, and community members--alter or suppress that true nature in order to turn boys into men that fit our societal template. He argues that the “model man” in our society, while seemingly successful in his role, may yet be unhappy in his life. The very elements that we strip away from a boy’s natural tendencies are the sources of vitality that can give his life both meaning and satisfaction. Without these, he has lost his essential nature.
A new approach is needed, says Hawley, and he goes to the roots of Western theology and philosophy to locate what has gone wrong and how those consequences might be addressed. Fantasy and imagination must not be trumped by cognition and problem solving. We must learn to look beyond the myth of Icarus so that we do not hold our boys back with our fears of failure but instead give them the tools and support they need to create wings good enough to fly wherever they wish to go.
RICHARD HAWLEY, Ph.D., was for thirty-seven years a teacher, counselor, coach, and then headmaster of University School, a college preparatory school in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the founding president of the International Boys’ Schools Coalition and has lectured widely on youth and school-related issues in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. The author of sixteen books, including The Headmaster’s Papers and Boys Will Be Men: Masculinity in Troubled Times, he lives in Vermont.
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Gary Margolis Ph.D.
Center for Counseling and Human Relations
Middlebury VT 05753