As the only child of my parents, when I was born a girl, my Dad said, "What do I do with a girl?" He soon found out that joyous role of being the all-time hero of your daughter's life and having a "Daddy's little girl." But, given my Dad didn't have the pleasure of raising a son, I got to be exposed to lots of sports viewing and actually enjoyed watching most sports. Aside from my affinity for sports, there isn't much else I could do to fill the boy role, because, well, boys are especially different.
A co-worker shared with me yesterday about a book he heard promoted on NPR: A Dangerous Book for Boys. After reading about it online, I found it quite fascinating. Conn and Hal Iggulden, brothers from Britain, wrote this book after realizing that in this over-protective culture, boys need to be introduced to danger and risk. It's the fabric of a boy. But, in our technologically-spinning world, most boys don't make it outside the four walls of their house much, and rarely are untethered from their computer, gameboy, or iPod. Although technology is what pays my bills, I fear this generation of boys is missing out on a whole lot.
How many Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn admirers are there these days? Very few. And, that great classic movie, The Sandlot, tells the tale of a summer with boys - full of baseball, treehouses, s'mores, and crushes on female lifeguards. I see little boys in my world that are afraid of their shadow and would never take on The Beast like the boys of the Sandlot did. Who knows what causes that fear, but a little 'roughing' it up with some other boys in a mudpile would surely do the trick.
This book details all the important skills a boy must know...how to make a bow and arrow...how to build a treehouse....how to skip stones....how to play paper football. There's even lots of stories in the book about our history, including the famous battles that every boy can fantasize about. This is definitely a must read for every boy in your life.
They have a site devoted to the promotion of the book, including a YouTube trailer. Maybe my favorite part of the book is the instructions given for interacting with a girl:
"If you see a girl in need of help--unable to lift something, for example--do not taunt her. Approach the object and greet her with a cheerful smile, while surreptitiously testing the weight of the object. If you find you can lift it, go ahead. If you can't, try sitting on it and engaging her in conversation."
I think I'll buy this book for every man I know...