Every magazine, poster and ad campaign seems focused on helping our girls with their self esteem. There are lots and lots of commercials about making sure our girls feel good about themselves. And I’m glad. Girls are brilliant, beautiful creatures. As my oldest daughter Mary says, “I’m awesome, have you met me?”
But our boys are being left in the ditch. These days a lot more girls go to college than boys and that difference is increasing every year. We spend a lot of time and money telling girls they are smart and can do anything but when was the last time you saw an ad on tv encouraging boys?
We tell girls their bodies are beautiful, no matter what size. But not the boys. Trust me, boys worry, a lot. I can name half a dozen 12 and 13 year old guys who have been in my kitchen recently and made fun of their own soft bellies, skinny arms, lack of defined abs or puny legs.
Unlike lots of girls with the same issues, guys tend to make fun of themselves before others do. The danger of boys lacking self esteem is they act out in a different way than girls. Girls cry or get catty, boys start fights and turn into bullies when they think they aren’t good enough. Or they simply disappear into the back ground.
In school, boys with muscles are absolutely more popular than the smart guys. But that’s nothing new.
But the truth is a many athletic guys peak in high school. They are super stars that fizzle as adults. And because no one encouraged them to develop their brains as well as their bodies, they go on to live average lives . For some that’s great, but many of these guys are way too smart to be stuck in minimum wage jobs.
All the time,perfectly good boys, intelligent boys, tell me they aren’t smart. They tell me they are good at sports or gaming so they don’t plan on going to college or a trade school. They are already planning on small lives and smaller careers. And nobody really seems to be correcting them. Girls on the other hand we push and encourage constantly.
Several years ago when Sandor was in 3rd or 4th grade Alex and I went to a “Parents Math Night.” Teachers explained the math they were working on so we could better help our kids at home. All the parents there had daughters. We were the only ones there for a male student.
When it comes to boys, Bs and Cs are ok, as long as they are passing. That’s about the best we can ask from our boys, right? Why don’t we insist our boys strive for excellence, for brilliance, for their best?
Parents, if you want your boys to be successful you have to build them that way. Teach them to shake hands,and insist they have good manners and be respectful. Boys who are respectful and know how to shake hands are able to get jobs and then be successful. Because bosses like those boys.
Society wants us to encourage our girls to succeed. So, parents you must push your boys to be more than strong. They need to be smart and hard working. And then you will have a successful man.