Khawaja Saud Masud
iPad is the new mud? - let boys be boys
Let the superhero shine
I was visiting a friend at his farmhouse when a couple of boys walked in to ask my friend the home’s WiFi password. Upon receiving and confirming the password the boys rushed back out of the room with their now connected iPads leaving their father shaking his head. We all knew what the head shake meant. I then made the comment, “iPad is the new mud!”
We were all relaxing in a beautiful multi-acre property with both developed and wild land. The fact we were there for four hours and the boys shoes remained spotless really got under my skin!
How come? I always believed in the universal law of happiness:
Boy + Mud = Bliss
As a kid, I recall crying at almost every social gathering for one reason or the other. Maybe I was digging worms out of mud piles and accidentally got pricked by a thorn or a shard of glass, maybe I tripped while running and bruised my knee, maybe I got into a fight because my ‘enemy’ challenged me in front of everyone including the girl I had a crush on, maybe a seemingly friendly wrestling match turned into an awkward fight, maybe I fell off climbing a tree or a wall, maybe I got slapped by the gardener for running through his nursery, maybe I got my brand new Eid clothes dirty followed by an earful from my mom, maybe I was crying from laughing too hard! The point is, as a kid, I don’t ever recall sitting still in a room other than doing classwork or homework.
Here we were three decades later evaluating what is up with the current generation of kids and especially boys. Over the next hour or so a half a dozen men vented, complained and explored solutions to the multi-faceted problems facing our boys.
Why are boys becoming so obsessed with their looks? They are starting to spend as much money on beauty products and spend as much time getting ready as girls.
Why do movies, music videos or TV dramas show so many more effeminate men than before? Where are real men as cultural icons?
Why are schools becoming more focused on arts and crafts than sports? Its hurting boys especially, who need to express their energies through physical activities.
Why are mostly boys losing themselves in endless hours of video gaming? Are other avenues of male social engagement and entertainment closed?
Given skyrocketing divorce rates, who are the male figures in a boy’s life? If he is being primarily raised by a mother and taught by female teachers at school then where is the kid’s male compass?
Why do boys nowadays come across as hyper-sensitive and entitled? They get hurt or insulted too easily or they will shut themselves off from the world exhibiting nihilistic behavior.
Why are more and more boys losing motivation to go for higher education? Is it a growing lack of purpose? Is it fear of unemployment and a resulting fear of inadequacy? How will these boys compete for jobs in the knowledge economy backdrop?
Increasingly and ironically boys are becoming more polite and lonely. There is a fear of conflict avoidance resulting in smaller or no real group of close friends.
What is he?
A boy is just as unique as a girl
I was once a boy and I am blessed to have one. Frankly and generally speaking, we are a bit more scatterbrained than a girl of same age. We focus less on tasks-at-hand and daydream more about laser battles and Kung fu tricks. We have more nervous energy bundled up inside than a girl and have to run around or run into things hence making us more ‘dangerous.’ We are less interested in discussing feelings and more in making or breaking things. We are riveted to comic books and action heroes and have little to no interest in poetry. We like to get attention through displays of speed and strength while girls seek the same through caring and making things aesthetically pleasing. We may care far less about our hygiene and condition of our appearance and clothes than a girl. We find poop and fart jokes as epitome of comedic content. To test our place in the proverbial food chain, we may find comfort in rebellion than conformity. Given our relatively charged up existence, we may also come across as less articulate and thoughtful than a girl making us believe that IQ is the domain of women.
Like it or not, this is nature and it is universal unlike my disproven theory of happiness (downgraded from law). Boys are different from girls and we need to be mindful in raising boys differently than girls even if they are under the same roof.
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#boys #sons #parenting #happiness #expectations #masculinity