The Sisterhood is a place to bring your cup of coffee to. Heck, bring the whole pot :). Sit down, relax, and fall in for a while. No divas or meanies allowed. It's about boy brain, kiddos, food, one crazy labrador, autism and a cat in recovery from a back tire incident. Oh the places you'll go :)

The Importance of Boy Brain and Becoming the Anti-Teacher’s Pet

on September 24, 2012

I volunteered in my fifth grade son’s class room today.  This is a world full of mostly ten and eleven years old.  I cringe when I see boys who sit quietly, never say a word and do everything right.  They are good boys, no doubt, but it feels like their boy brain has been squashed. It always makes me sad to see squashed boy brains.  Such a loss.

Today, there was one boy who, in particular,  just could not get it together.  The boy brain in him was more plentiful than his teacher may have liked and I felt for the teacher… but the little boy made me smile.  Oh, and on this day, it happened to not be my son.  This little guy was all boy and, though all-boy is not always easy to deal with, I smiled because his boy brain was being developed…not squashed.   He was not perfect, he did not sit quietly and he had more answers than the teacher wanted to hear.  I realize this will never be the teacher’s pet but, one day, he will be the boy who defends this country and, if I were to venture a guess, I’d say he will be the boy who saves the day.

These days when we raise our boys, we ask them to comply with society and then, WHAM, at eighteen, we ask them to register…just in case of a draft.  The boy I watched this morning, as he develops his bravado, his boy brain and his comfort with dirt may not be the star student in his current classroom but he will probably not be the one, a decade or so from now, who backs down from a fight when his country is attacked.   It is unfortunate that as we reward the perfect and quiet boys with awards and medals in the classroom, we have forgotten how important it is for these boys to develop the boy brain within.

They are meant to get in trouble, to get dirty and to do impulsive things they cannot explain.  I appreciate the craziness that lives boldly within differently wired brains.  I see it in my boys.  They are not always perfect in class, they do not always get A’s but I see it as part of their wiring.  They are not wired to be perfect citizens, to sit quietly for hours on end and ‘yes ma’am’ their way through an entire day.  Sometimes they need to let it out, let it fly and get mucked up in the dirt.  Sometimes they even need to wrestle and fight.

They are not girls.  And, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate my girl.  She is sanity, freshness, structure, discipline and light.  In the classroom, she is a breath of fresh air.  She will not break rules, she will not blurt out, she will not chew gum in the classroom.  She is not wired for rebellion.  She is wired differently than her brothers and I am happy that I have both genders so that I can see the difference.  When they were babies, I was the parent who said I will not buy my girl dolls and force that way of thinking on her.  If she wants to be an engineer or build houses, so be it.  So I bought her the Home Depot work bench and tools.  I bought her a doll or two as well because, as a forward thinking parent, I wanted her to decide what she liked without intervention from societal norms.  When my boy wanted his nails painted bright pink like mommy’s I painted his fingers and his toes.  No judgment.  I discovered it was just a wiring thing.  They would all explore but, in time, they would fall into their paths that took the boys to trucks and the girls to pink, glitter and princesses.  It just was.

Getting back to my point and why boy brain is important…it hit me hard this morning that these young boys are asked to ignore their boy brain and sit quiet and be perfectly content sitting still.  They are taught not to fight.  They are asked not to get dirty.  They are taught that if there is a scuffle to not settle it themselves but rather, go tattle to a teacher.  And, believe me, after having a son who has been bullied, I get it but I also look at these boys who are taught to be so civilized and peaceful and non aggressive and I am sad for them.

Up until they are eighteen and graduate high school we ask them to be quiet, kind and civilized.  We ask them to settle grievances through mediation and words.  Then, one fine day when they turn the magic eighteen, we ask them to sign up for military service just in case we need to reinstate the draft.  We ask them to sign up to defend this country, to fight and kill,  in case there is an international scuffle.  We frowned at them for fighting but now we want them to be prepared to kill.  And we send these boys off to war and they see things that no one should have to see and yet they see it.  They fight, they kill, they witness the atrocious acts of war and these sweet, kind, peaceful boys that we have raised are forced to come to terms with what they have lived while at war.  Some never do.  And, I get that girls go off to war as well but, as girls/women, we are not forced to sign up.  We will not be drafted as of yet.

As for my boys, I will encourage boy brain and I will not squash it. I believe boy brain is important.  I believe in letting boys get dirty, climb trees, to tie up in a fair fight and to wrestle if necessary.   We may get in trouble at school now and again and that is okay.  All boys should have boy brain stories to tell when they are old men.  Perfect, quiet, civilized boys have no stories to tell and that is a shame. And, for now, I will encourage their boy brain, the dirt on their hands, the bruises on their knees and the scrapes they get when they fall down because it’s all part of being a boy.   I will never underestimate the power of boy brain in their development and when the principal calls me to ask me down for a meeting to ask why I have not squashed his boy brain, I will remember why a fair fight is okay too.


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