Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Is The Boy Crisis A Myth?

Periodically we post something on the crisis among American boys, our most recent a couple months ago (Boys Will Be Boys) when we plugged a delightful new tome, "The Dangerous Book For Boys."

Now, along comes Time Magazine with a cover story titled "The Myth About Boys," in which reporterd David Von Drehle argues that, at most, the boy crisis is quite exaggerated.

Well, we like to present two sides to a good debate. Time's story has a few good points--a good chunk of Von Drehle's argument is that today's boys are better off than yesterday's boys, but relative to girls they've slipped. It certainly appears true that both boys and girls are better off in many areas, especially compared to the 1980's.

The percentage of drop-outs of both sexes is lower, while the percentage of high schoolers enrolled in college immediately after graduation is higher. Fewer boys--and girls--are doing drugs and binge drinking, and more are using birth control, resulting in a lower teen birthrate.

On the other hand, men make up an declining percentage of college students, down to not much more than 40%. To say that means men are doing fine, but women are doing even better is quite a stretch.

Boys are far more likely than girls to take mood-managing drugs, mainly to overcome their "deficits" of attention, which is a different way of saying they'd rather pay attention to something besides a boring lesson about fancy words.

It's a good debate to have, however, and we hope more serious research will be done.

Meanwhile, our boys are having a terrific boy summer: soccer camp, basketball camp, tennis camp, adventure camp (rock climbing, cave exploring, rafting), a long weekend of roller coasters and water rides, a bit of golf with the old man, a week of carousing at the beach, and soon, a couple weeks exploring the inner reaches of China (which our oldest will declare "boring"--an overused word of his these days; but he will secretly enjoy it).

Too bad summer has to end!

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