Thursday, October 20, 2011

Making Boys Visible. Revolution.

     I know two boys who grew up invisible.
     Their invisibility sprang from the fact that their hardwiring was a little different, or something.  Neither can spell. I also think that being invisible worked for them after awhile. Because when the System did see them, the System saw them as Boneheads.
      One of them had an English class where he filled out worksheets on how to answer a phone. I heard that a teacher phoned his parents because she was concerned that he read H.P. Lovecraft books. He didn't do well on worksheets.
     The other one was Trouble and  voted Most Likely to Overthrow the Government by his senior class. People could see Trouble, but not much else, like the fact that he spoke three languages fluently before he graduated from high school.
     I know they had some great teachers who made a difference, but I cannot say that their interests were served by the System.
    One of them now is a successful writer.
    The other speaks seven languages fluently, and can spell perfectly in all of them except English.
    Both of them are remarkable human beings.
    It breaks my heart that they were invisible for a long time to people who, for the most part, had the best possible intentions. I think Martin Luther King made an important point about the dangers of sincere ignorance.
    It is a source of profound grief that I have worked to change the System for so long and have had so little effect on The Big Picture. The System can make lots of  noise about Leaving No Child Behind et cetera et cetera but I know what I see. There's so much noise that it drowns out the voices we could hear if we just listened better.
   Hear me: Our boys need us to see them for exactly who they are, and write books that speak to and for them, and reflect back to them that their boy-ness is a good and powerful thing. We need them to grow to be good human beings who are good men.
  We need them to see hope, and a future.
  We expect no less for our girls. We want them to grow into good human beings who are good women. We have done a better job with the girls in the last thirty years, and we have farther to go. I celebrate the advances we have made for women, but we are by no means at the Promised Land.
     The System is not keyed to getting anyone to the Promised Land. And it should be.
   I fear that we have allowed boys to fall into soft-focus, and that we have let stereotypes govern the experiences the System provides for them.
   I work on/against the System one day at a time, one kid at a time.
   It's time for a Revolution.


  1. This was an AWESOME post. I totally agree!

  2. This is a great post. Thanks for the follow!

  3. Appreciate you stopping by my blog! And I have to say, after reading this post, I am a new follower. I have two young sons, and every day I try to get them to embrace what makes them special and unique--whether it's the classic boy strengths or something else. Bring on the boy revolution!

  4. Finally found you from the blogfest. Incredible post,keep up the fight. don't teach, but I do work with teens, in the Caribbean. Some days it's all up hill, but there is always hope, especially with people like you standing at the barricades.

  5. Thank you all for your comments! Stay tuned for more on the Revolution!

  6. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all my questions! Revolt!