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Saturday, April 3, 2010


What is it with boys?

Last night I drove into town for a meeting or at least tried to, and the situation with young men once again thrust into my face. Three cars ahead of me, the Parkway was blocked. A sedan, driven by a seventeen-year-old boy, with 4 friends in the car, had attempted to pull out into the traffic but failed to see a truck coming from behind. The truck had crushed the car almost in half and carried it fifty meters along the road. As I watched, 7 emergency vehicles gathered; fire, rescue, police, ambulances. Men worked in teams, calmly dealing with the situation.

The young driver was gradually cut out of the wreck unconscious. His 4 male passengers had varying injuries. Maleness was everywhere - inexperience and risk on the one side; competence, caring and steadiness on the other.

It kind of summed up for me the male situation. Men, when they turn out well, are wonderful.....but being young and male is so vulnerable, so prone to disaster. When I see Adam today, I have my hearts in my mouths - how will he turn out?

Today it's the girls who are more sure of themselves, motivated, hard working. Boys are oftern adrift in life, some failing at school, awkward in relationships, at risk for violence, alcohol, drugs and so on, here in Australia. They can't wait to be 18, the legal age of drinking.....how sad is it, that that is the one thing that they so looking forward to once they're into manhood.

The differences start early - visit any pre-school and see for yourself. The girls work together happily; the boys 'hoon' around like Indians around the wagon train. They annoy the girls and fight with each other.

In primary school the boys' work is often sloppy and inferior. By the time they reach grade three, most boys don't read books any more. They speak in one word sentences: ' Huh?' 'Awwyeah!' And in high school they don't join in with debating, concerts, councils or any non-sport activity. They pretend not to care about anything and that 'it's cool to be fool'.

Teenage boys are quite unsure about relationships and how to get girls to like them.( not that I am encouraging Adam, there's plenty at the moment who want to be his friend) This came from a friend who have 3 teenagers in the house. Some become painfully shy, others are aggressive and unpleasant when girls are around. They seem to lack even the most basic conversation skills.

And the bottom line, of course, is safety. By fifteen years of age boys are three times more likely than girls to die from all causes combined - but especially from accidents, violence and suicide.