Monday, April 13, 2009

The Purpose of Boys

I got a new book today: The Purpose of Boys, by boy-guru Michael Gurian. (Gurian is also the author of The Minds of Boys and The Wonder of Boys.)

I haven't gotten to read much of it yet, but the subtitle -- Helping Our Sons Find Meaning, Significance and Direction in Their Lives -- tells me that this is an important book.

How many men do you know who struggle to find their way and place in the world? Now imagine how our boys feel, looking desperately around them for guidance but seeing a society with very few clearly definited roles and expectations for men and boys.

Too many of our boys don't know where they fit in anymore, and that's our fault.

The bit of the book I've scanned had some interesting questions for discussion, so I asked my sons:
  • What are your favorite books, comics and games?
  • What things do you think you're best at?
  • What activities make you the most happy?
  • How do you want to help people?
  • Whom do you like playing with most these days? Why?
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?

The boys loved it! I learned some interesting things (for instance, that physical activities rank high on their things-that-make-me-happy list) but the best part was the looks on their faces. They were simply radiant as they pondered their future and their role in the world.

Try it -- ask your sons some of these questions, and let me know what you've learned.

Stay tuned for more about The Purpose of Boys. I'll be posting a full review late next week and will soon announce a Purpose of Boys contest.


  1. My action-adventures & mysteries are written especially for boys, and my blog, Books for Boys is dedicated to this as well

    Thanks for covering this important topic of the Purpose of Boys.

    Max Elliot Anderson

  2. My son seems to have a fairly firm sense of self and what he sees as his place in the world. I'm not sure if it's to do with homeschooling (his ps friends definitely struggle with these issues on a much greater scale), or if it's because we've always discussed these kinds of things. Probably a little of both ;) One of his biggest stressors, oddly enough, is that he knows he wants a job "making a difference" (which he defines as helping people or the planet), but he doesn't *specifically* know what he wants to do yet, and that bugs him. He feels like he should know by now.

  3. Son #1 gets frustrated b/c he knows what he wants to do, yet feels so hampered by his current age. He wants to do great things, even now, and has some really good ideas, but know that a lot of adults have a hard time taking kids seriously.