Monday, June 11, 2007

The Dangerous Duty of Boyhood

Let me tell you a little bit about my three, almost four year old son Nicolas. First off, he is the most adorable thing you have ever seen. If he had any more dimples on his face, it would be considered illegal!

Since he has been quite small, he has been interested in very "boyish" things. It started with him pounding his wooden pegs into his toy bench with the might of Bamm-Bamm Rubble from "The Flintstones" at about 18-months. Somewhere around age two, his infatuation with wildlife started to bloom. His ability to spot and name birds, sharks and dinosaurs in nature and in books is very instinctive. He celebrated his third birthday party with a "John Deere" theme and loved every dirt-filled moment of it.

It seems that all things "boy" speak his name and call him into an imaginary world where his is warrior, captain, or resident hero. Words like "daggers", "swords", "bow-and-arrow" and "wolf" bring delight to his soul and feed his imagination like oxygen feeds flame.

As we speak, he has a coonskin cap, pirate's hat and viking helmet adorning his bedposts. He asked us during dinner recently if he was old enough to have his own hatchet ("Uh, no son. Not just yet!!!!). To say that his testosterone is flowing properly would be an understatement.

So it's no surprise that my ears perked up when I heard about this book, "The Dangerous Book for Boys", a book about the lost art of being a little boy.

Everything from how to make your own bow and arrow to how to skip a stone properly are covered in this "dangerous" book. And although these feats may seem a natural part of a boys (or girls) day for some, it is sad to think that there has to be a book about teaching someone how to build there own fort or find "NORTH" on a compass. I daresay that my father needed a book to find ways to keep busy on a summer day (let's just say that my father's childhood involved lots of frogs, a good amount of matches and entire days spent with his buddies in the woods!).

From a mother who has seen her son's eyes become as wide as saucers at the sight of a mud puddle, I know how precious these experiences can be to a little boy. Especially a little boy living in present day America. A boy who may not ever know the feeling of climbing to the top of a tree or catching a slimy, swollen bullfrog with his his own bare hands.

I haven't read this book and perhaps I never will pick up a copy of my own. But for now I am LOVING THE IDEA of letting boys be boys. It is something I allow myself to do on a daily basis!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hmm, Jill. Your post makes me think Davy and Nicolas need to spend more time together. I think they would understand each other perfectly. Some of his mottos might be, "Noise is good. More noise is better." "Slamming your body into things-including Mom-is way fun." "Sharks, cool."

BTW, I've been reading about this book and it's high on my list of books to get for Davy. And if I were you I would definitely include in the category of "must have homeschool materials".